South African business on Wednesday expressed concern at plans by the union representing security guards to spread their strike to other sectors of the economy.
“It would appear that in addition to tolerating violence and the destruction of property, the union is now prepared to extend their aggressive stance to other sectors of the economy,” said executive president of the South African Chamber of Business (Sacob) Deirdre Penfold.
She said Sacob is particularly concerned about the ability of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) leadership to control its members.
“The effect of such action is not commensurate with their recent participation in protest action against the high levels of unemployment.”
Companies affected by the secondary strike, in sympathy with security guards’ salary demands, have a week to appeal to the Labour Court, Satawu said.
The union said about 110 000 of its members will be involved in the strike.
“If they [the companies] do not [appeal to the Labour Court], then by Friday June 2 2006, all nine sectors serviced by Satawu will be shut down,” spokesperson Jackson Simon said in a statement.
The companies served are in the contract cleaning sector; Transnet and all its business units; aviation, including South African Airways and Nationwide; the road passenger sector, including taxis and buses; the road freight sector; and toll gates, the statement said.
Simon said this procedure is accommodated by labour-law provisions, which allow related industries to go on a sympathy strike in support of colleagues in another industry.
Security guards have been on strike since March 23 in industrial action that has been marred by violence, including the deaths of 18 people.
In a front-page editorial entitled “Stop it!”, the Sowetan newspaper on Wednesday called for an end to the slaughter and was critical of the police’s response to the violence.
The editorial further called for improved security and investigations “to stop this carnage and catch the culprits” — “even if it means calling in the army”. — Sapa