Talks to Go into Night to End S.Africa Security Guard Strike

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Negotiators were set to talk into the night to broker an end to the South African security guard strike that entered its third day Wednesday and again saw guards take to the streets, arbitrators said. 

Sipho Radebe from the Center for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, said there had been little progress in talks between unions representing the strikers and employers by late afternoon. 

"We have no real outcome yet and are still busy with negotiations. We only started late and will keep going until very late," he told AFP. 

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has warned that if workers' demands for higher salaries and increased benefits are not met, the strike will continue indefinitely. 

The security guards are demanding an increase in nightshift pay, a minimum salary of 1,360 rand (177 dollars), three months' maternity leave and an equal contribution from employers towards their provident fund. 

The demands amount to a 25 percent total increase in benefits for the country's 85,000 security guards.  

Some 300 striking guards marched through the streets of the central city of Bloemfontein on Wednesday, chanting and dancing as they went. 

Similar protest marches were held in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg on Monday and Tuesday, two of which turned violent. 

In Johannesburg 14 security guards appeared in court on assault charges Wednesday after they allegedly attacked non-striking security guards and two journalists while marching through the city Tuesday. 

The strikers, who carry out a dangerous job in a country where violent crime is rampant, claim that some guards are earning as little as 700 rand (about 92 dollars) a month. 

The Joint Employers' Association of the Private Security Industry has denied this -- JOHANNESBURG (AFP)  

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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