Property group Resilient Property Income Fund increased its dividend for the year ended June by 20.94%.

Thursday, 26 June 2008 02:00

Strike at Mbombela

Angry Mbombela Stadium workers allegedly burnt a heavy duty truck, two motorbikes and a mobile guard house on Wednesday after they were dismissed.

Construction IndustryConstruction once again came to a grinding halt as a result of a labour dispute that saw 500 employees dismissed. The stadium is already 60 days behind schedule owing to a number of previous protests.

Police spokesman Dawie Pretorius said no one had been arrested. He said police had identified some suspects who would face the might of the law.

“The suspects face charges of malicious damage to property, arson and public violence,” Pretorius said.

NUM spokesman George Ledwaba said the strike, which started last Friday, was in protest against management’s threat not to pay the promised R1500 performance bonus if workers did not agree to work night shift at an allowance of R120 a month. Ledwaba said workers would only agree to work for an allowance of R800 a month.

Basil Read and Bouygues Civil Works said in a statement that they had terminated the employment contracts of all employees who took part in the strike with immediate effect.

“We have taken a difficult but necessary decision to dismiss these employees.”

 

Tuesday, 18 March 2008 02:00

Municipal strike mayhem

More than a hundred striking Nelson Mandela Bay municipal workers spent the night behind bars following a day of chaos which included intimidation, vandalism of municipal buildings and disrupting construction at the 2010 World Cup soccer stadium.

Construction IndustryAmong the 110 people arrested on Sunday was SA Municipal Workers‘ Union provincial chairman David Toyise, who is at the centre of the strike after being dismissed by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality in January, as well as Samwu branch chairman Nomvula Hadi.

The workers‘ actions – which included throwing down what is believed to be poison in the Eric Tindale and Brister House buildings, vandalising and flooding the Murray & Roberts building, trespassing on the 2010 World Cup stadium building site and halting work there for two hours, as well as barricading the main street in Despatch – has been condemned by the municipality.

The problems started on Sunday when striking members amassed outside the Eric Tindale and Brister House buildings, threatening and intimidating their colleagues who wished to work, with weapons which included knobkieries, shamboks and steel pipes. The Herald also noticed some protesters armed with knives.

One faction then forced their way into both of the major administration buildings, threatening those who were in the offices and forcing them to leave.

Municipal manager Graham Richards said doors, furniture and office equipment, including computers, were smashed.

“Basins were stoppered and taps left running for the purpose of flooding the buildings, while foul smelling concoctions were poured throughout the buildings, causing further damage.”

Richards said the office bearers of Samwu were witnessed taking the lead in this destruction.

The Herald saw extensive damage to the adjacent Murray &Roberts building, where taps in the bathrooms and kitchens from the 4th to the 12th, as well as all emergency fire hoses, were left running, flooding the building.

Municipal documents and general litter was strewn across the floors of the three buildings, while a poisonous smell filled the lifts and passages.

Strikers were also openly hostile towards the media, threatening to beat them and ripping pages out of a journalist‘s notebooks.

A municipal contractor in one of the buildings, who only gave his first name as Moses, said he had inhaled some sort of airborne substance while using a lift in Eric Tindale.

“I immediately started feeling ill and dizzy so I warned a security guard at the door,” he said.

Moses said he rushed home and started vomiting, and his mouth and eyes were dry. He was later told the substance was considered dangerous and he should seek medical assistance.

Protesters then continued to toyi- toyi in Govan Mbeki, waving their weapons in the air and chanting, until members of the police‘s crime combating unit arrived. The protesters then dispersed in a convoy of taxis, which descended on the 2010 stadium, chanting and singing freedom songs.

Port Elizabeth police spokesman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said they used bolt cutters to gain access to the stadium through a locked gate, and disrupted work for at least two hours.

She said the crowd then returned to Brister House at around 3pm, where they began intimidating members of the public, prompting police to respond.

“Police had to deploy three stun grenades, and used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse the crowds,” she said.

With the first grenade, striking workers fled in all directions, the police close on their heels, while others collapsed to the ground, shielding themselves from the trampling feet of their fellow strikers.

One woman, who refused to co-operate, was pepper sprayed before being loaded into the back of a police van.

Janse van Rensburg said 82 men and 13 women were arrested and charged with trespassing on the 2010 stadium grounds.

She said the municipality had also laid a number of criminal charges against individual members of Samwu and the union itself ranging from intimidation to breaking and entering and malicious damage to property.

She said one police officer was injured when a striker attacked him with a steel pipe during the arrests.

After the commotion, Govan Mbeki Avenue was littered with personal belongings – shoes, caps, jerseys and even cellphones lay abandoned.

Despatch police spokesman Inspector Marianette Olivier said police and strikers also clashed after they threw rubbish into the main street and blocked traffic.

“The police instructed them to disperse. When they refused, 15 of them were arrested.”

Olivier said Samwu shop stewards had approached the police to try and negotiate their colleagues‘ release, while those arrested toyi-toyied in the holding cells, but their requests were not entertained.

Samwu Eastern Cape provincial secretary Siphiwo Ndunyana issued a terse statement, saying that despite the arrests, the union‘s “Blood on the Floor” campaign against the municipality would continue until their demands were met. These included the reinstatement of Toyise.

The Mbuyiselo Ngwenda District of the SA Communist Party in the Eastern Cape condemned the use of rubber bullets by the police and came out in support of the striking workers, calling on the ANC at all levels to intervene in “the arrogance displayed by the mayor, Nondumiso Maphazi, and Richards”.

The SACP called for both Maphazi and Richards to resign or be dismissed “because they do not have the capacity to lead this municipality”.

Richards, however, said Samwu was deliberately trying to mislead its members.

He accused Samwu representatives of making inflammatory statements against the municipality to the media and its members, based on the municipality‘s dismissal of Toyise.

Richards said Samwu members could not legally use Toyise‘s dismissal as a basis for the strike, which is why they then delivered a strike notice under the guise of dissatisfaction with certain amendments made to the recruitment policy.

“A strike on this basis would be a protected strike but prior to this the municipality has reiterated its willingness to meet on this issue. Samwu has, however, consistently declined to accept that invitation,” he said.

All those arrested are expected to appear in the Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth magistrate‘s court.

 

Striking workers at the Mbombela stadium will return to work on Monday while they wait for a response from the CCMA

Friday, 07 December 2007 02:00

Mbombela Stadium workers’ strike resolved

Construction workers at Mpumalanga’s Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit – which will host some 2010 World Cup games – have resumed work after resolving their problems with their employer.

Construction IndustryThe workers went on strike for the second time last Friday in a protest over project bonuses.

The protest was on the back of the first protest two weeks before when workers downed tools for what they said was ‘non-adherence’ by the employer to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

But the strike was temporarily suspended after agreement that the workers go back to work while the employer and the workers’ union tried to resolve the problem.

But last week there was a communication breakdown while the management of the Mbombela Stadium Joint Venture – the builders of the stadium – and the workers’ representatives, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), were in a meeting to discuss working conditions and project bonuses.

The union wants bonuses to be increased to R2000 this year and R1500 in June next year. They also want the current hourly rate to be increased by R3 to R10,80.

“We have always been confident that the two parties would find a solution,” said Desmond Golding, Mpumalanga’s 2010 director.

 

Friday, 07 December 2007 02:00

Mbombela Stadium workers' strike resolved

Construction workers at Mpumalanga’s Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit – which will host some 2010 World Cup games – have resumed work after resolving their problems with their employer.

Construction IndustryThe workers went on strike for the second time last Friday in a protest over project bonuses.

The protest was on the back of the first protest two weeks before when workers downed tools for what they said was ‘non-adherence’ by the employer to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

But the strike was temporarily suspended after agreement that the workers go back to work while the employer and the workers’ union tried to resolve the problem.

But last week there was a communication breakdown while the management of the Mbombela Stadium Joint Venture – the builders of the stadium – and the workers’ representatives, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), were in a meeting to discuss working conditions and project bonuses.

The union wants bonuses to be increased to R2000 this year and R1500 in June next year. They also want the current hourly rate to be increased by R3 to R10,80.

“We have always been confident that the two parties would find a solution,” said Desmond Golding, Mpumalanga’s 2010 director.

 

Monday, 03 December 2007 02:00

Nelspruit 2010 stadium strike continues

The strike by construction workers at the Mbombela 2010 soccer stadium in Nelspruit has entered its fifth day

There are absolutely no grounds for panic as Port Elizabeth‘s 2010 Soccer World Cup stadium will be completed, at the very latest, in January 2009, five months before the Confederations Cup tournament.

Construction IndustryThese assuring words came yesterday from Nelson Mandela Bay 2010 director Errol Heyns.

This follows a series of media reports last week that due to an impending sympathy strike scheduled for yesterday at the stadium, the city‘s chances of hosting the Confederations Cup had been thrown out the window.

Heyns said: “Our planning made provision for a 45 000-seater stadium within a period of 22 months, ending in December 2008, or January 2009. There is absolutely no reason for panic. As far as critical items are concerned, the stadium is on track. It‘s early days for panicking.”

The pitch is scheduled to be ready in October next year and thereafter the roof will follow.

“The seats are most critical as Fifa needs to sell them through ticketing.”

While there were no guarantees of any sort in the construction industry, weather permitting, and with minimal disruptive industrial action, the stadium should be completed well in time, Heyns said.

He conceded, however, that other non-critical issues such as paving, painting, some lighting and tiling could stretch the completion time to April.

“The Confederations Cup will only kick off on June 15 and end on July 15. Before that, Fifa requires about six weeks to set up its equipment,” he said.

The construction of the stadium is divided into five levels. Level one and two comprise seating arrangements, level three is an office complex, level four is suites and level five is conferencing and retail facilities.

“We are finishing off level two, but other areas are already at level three and four.”

He said the 2010 project was big and would have challenges.

“There is no way that a project of this magnitude would be without challenges. The question is how you tackle those challenges when they show up.”

Heyns also dispelled reports that the stadium would be downgraded because of a R212-million shortfall which the municipality could not raise.

The shortfall, he said, had indeed occurred because major contractors had tendered for about 30 per cent more than had been budgeted for. However, the Eastern Cape provincial government had covered the shortfall.

“The stadiums will be built to Fifa specifications. There will be no downgrading,” he said.

Depending on how much subcontractors who would work with lighting, lifts, electricity, paving and lighting quoted, more shortfalls could surface, but the municipality would make plans to raise those shortfalls.

“We will look at different financing models,” Heyns said, but he would not specify what they were.

Ideally, the municipality wanted to create a whole new economic node in North End, with the stadium assuming a catalyst role for that, he said.

The node, which would be known as the “leisure entertainment precinct”, would see the North End Lake getting a cycling track and walkway, coffee shops, jazz cafes and nightclubs.

The municipality would spend about R1-billion on transport infrastructure around the stadium and elsewhere in the Bay.

At present about 1 370 people are employed on site. More are expected to benefit when sub-contractors start installing lighting, lifts, electricity, paving and tiling.

However, he also warned against people raising their expectations too high. “People should work hard and be competent in order to benefit. Be organised, competent and willing.”

The municipality was also looking at different ways to manage the stadium.

“These days stadiums have shifted from having a soccer pitch only. They have to be sustainable and profitable. So we are looking at office space, soccer, rugby and other revenue-generating facilities.”

 

 

Monday, 12 November 2007 02:00

Strike goes on at World Cup stadium

Unless the Ethekwini Municipality pushed the company building Durban’s 2010 stadium to pay its workers decent wages, the labour strike would continue — a move which will affect the deadlines set by world soccer controlling body Fifa , the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said last week. 

Thursday, 27 September 2007 02:00

Gautrain strikers ordered back to work

An urgent court interdict ordering workers on the Gautrain rapid rail link back to work was granted on Wednesday, Bombela Civils Joint Venture (CJV) said. 

Construction Industry"Bombela CJV was granted an urgent interdict this morning declaring the Gautrain workers strike action to be unprotected; and ordering workers on strike to cease such unprotected strike action and return to work," the concessionaire said in a statement.

Bombela CJV said it had issued a number of ultimatums to workers to cease the unprotected strike action and return to work or face dismissal.

"Should the striking workers fail to heed the court interdict and the ultimatums issued by Bombela CJV, they are unlikely to enjoy any protection from the courts if they are dismissed."

Construction workers employed on the Gautrain Project downed tools at all major sites on Tuesday demanding an R8 per hour increase across the board.

This amounted to a 73 percent increase in the minimum rate of pay.

Bombela CVJ said the strike challenged and ignored various National Industry Level agreements on which the workers' terms and conditions of employment were based.

"These agreements have been negotiated and agreed upon at various forums between organised labour and industry representatives and gazetted by the Minister of Labour," the statement said.

The agreements were binding and applicable until 2009 for the civil industry and 2010 for the MEI (Mechanical, Electrical and Instrumentation) industry.

"Bombela CJV is not willing to undermine existing industry bargaining agreements and are therefore not willing to entertain any attempts by Labour to renege on existing agreement[s] or to negotiate the terms of any such agreements," it said.

All Gautrain construction workers received an across the board increase of 8 percent as from September 1, 2007. The company said this was in line with the increase negotiated on a national level.
 
Bombela CJV said labour representatives and company officials were making every effort to ensure workers were aware of the possible consequences of their continued strike.

The consortium was unable to say how many strikers had embarked on industrial action on Tuesday and were continuing to do so on Wednesday afternoon.

 

 

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