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METAL INDUSTRY STRIKE
 
THE NEW STYLE OF LABOUR 'RELATIONS' IN SOUTH AFRICA 

HOW TO SQUEEZE AN UNAFFORDABLE DEAL OUT OF EMPLOYERS? 

 
Dear NEASA member

The following is feedback (quoted) from employers affected by the strike:

(…but before you read this, remember this piece of leadership advice: "Stand up to bullies!")

  • Assaulted by striking workers: 1 man smashed in the head with a brick and they bust the windows in the van.

  • Threaten to kill us if we keep on working. Threw out all shop windows with stones.

  • Protestors were throwing rocks at the building.

  • Broken gates + 200 windows broken + rocks thrown at staff.

  • Bunch of strikers (NOT OUR OWN STAFF) damaged 7 of our vehicles which were parked outside our premises this morning by throwing rocks through the windows and hitting the bodywork with sticks etc.

  • Broke the gate, entered premises and threw stones at cars and windows. 5 cars damaged and a few windows. There were 2 police vans here, but they couldn’t do anything against 40 – 50 strikers.

  • Approximately 100 men (NUMSA) arrived outside our factory.  Armed with sticks and panga’s.  They demanded entry to the property but I had already locked them out.  They started rattling the palisade fence and started to stone the building.  They threatened to break down the gate. Severe damage to the company vehicle that was parked outside. All in the full view of the SAPS members and did not lift a finger to be of any assistance.

  • Workers were intimidated while waiting for transport. And we also have a night shift working and they were told if the strikers find them at work they will burn down our factory and assault the workers.

  • Bricks and stones were thrown at car.  Extensive damage to the vehicle. Rocks thrown at us.

  • Factory was stoned.

  • They were pulling the gate with great force at a factory opposite yesterday and waved samboks at me because I was trying to film.

  • Our CCTV cameras were all smashed, our sliding gate and motor was broken and windows were smashed, ALL in front of a police escort!

  • Factory gates were broken open & premises invaded. Death threats made & threats to vandalize the premises.  Case of malicious damage to property & intimidation opened with the Randburg police. Video coverage available.

  • Upon arriving at work our staff were chased away by small groups of strikers carrying various 'weapons' such as: baseball bats, golf clubs, knob kierries, sticks, steel poles and tubes, branches broken from trees.

  • None of our staff have been able to enter the premises.

  • We are currently losing in excess of R300 000.00 in turnover per day.

  • When I spoke with the group at the front of our premises and told them they are damaging my company and our country, the replied it was right.

  • They also informed me that if they catch anyone working after hours in our factory they will burn it to the ground.

  • Numsa pitched up at our factory today and insisted that all their members join them which they did. 

  • Burning tyres and intimidation.

  • Violent assault to our building; we were pelted with broken bricks, rocks and empty cider and beer bottles; numerous broken windows; the guard house’s viewing window was smashed, and the house looted. Two vehicles were damaged; assault of two managers.

  • Gate was broken down and office windows smashed.

  • In Wadeville a lot of company’s have been vandalized and white managers and staff been hurt and hospitalized.

  • Lot of gates broken down and windows smashed. Lot of cars hit and windows broken out.

  • They have not passed our factory as yet but NUMSA people in cars have visited our gate numerous times taking photographs.

  • Staff attacked by strikers from other companies with bricks being thrown and lives being threatened. We called the police on 2 occasions but they were a no show.

  • Terrible violence and property damage to vehicles and premises in Wadeville Germiston. Throw dangerous object at your vehicle. Many company buildings were damaged and some people were injured whilst sitting at their desks and a brick was thrown through the window. The company was not even related to the metal industry. A bakkie was set alight also. They spy on all streets in Wadeville and communicate to each other via cell phone.

  • Managements vehicles were damaged this morning, the vehicles were thrown with brick's and were hid with steel pipes and sticks. An employee who reported for duty were assaulted with a steel pipe.

  • Innocent woman pulled out of their cars and beaten. Vehicles are damaged, stoning, smashing trucks. Threatening office staff etc.

  • Threats to kill workers if they see them working.

  • Our staff were intimidated off the floor with a crowd brandishing batons, sticks and golf clubs and throwing stones. They dissipated with the arrival of the police and our staff then left the floor.

  • My work vehicle side window was hit with a weapon and smashed the glass.

  • There is a white bakkie driving up and down the road to check if any of the factories are working or if they see anyone. Throwing rocks at factories windows.

  • The gate next door was knocked down and cars hit with various sticks and pipes. Apparently two people were injured and rocks were thrown into the building. Our gate was forced open and striking members came in to check for non-striking workers.

  • Strikers dreig non-strikers.  Vandag toe kom hulle na ons hek toe met stokke en sambokke in hulle hande.

  • NUMSA members burn tyres and block the entrance with rocks to our premises.

  • Striking employees are picketing outside the company.  They are carrying weapons, sticks and bricks.  They are preventing customers from entering the premises.  Damaged customer’s vehicles. Hitting customers, employees.

  • I was warned today to lock out all my employees or suffer the consequences.  They advised that they know where my employees live and that they will get them there.

  • Bricks were hurled at security windows.

  • Visitor’s car was damaged by bricks being thrown at him.

  • Attempts were made to breakdown turnstiles and entrance gates.

  • Hit our camera off the wall. Vehicle surrounded by picketers and they were hitting on the vehicle.

  • Strikers waited until contract workers left, they left out a back entrance, but we were told that it “will be like Marikana” if we have people working for us.  At the plastic factory opposite us, they broke the gate open and insisted that the few people at work come out into the street.  They beat the supervisor who was working unconscious. At a factory nearby, they broke the gate and booms, dented a customer’s car. And threw stones through many of the windows.

  • Security guard was attacked this morning, threw stones at him and broke a window. Also tried to break down the gate to have access to our premises.

  • They returned later shooting at the vehicles, windows and personnel on the premises with ketties. They have hammers, pangas and sticks which they are threatening us with.

  • Broke a security camera, broke the gate. A police vehicle arrived and the men dispersed slowly. They attacked vehicles and broke windscreens.

  • Throwing of stones and bottles breaking the gate. We were threatened that if we do not go home and close the factory blood will flow.

  • Breaking down security fence, breaking windows, damaging buildings, damaging suppliers’ vehicles and threatening staff.

  • Driver held captive for 8 hours by aggressive stone and brick throwing NUMSA skollies.

  • Threats to burn our trucks and hurting the drivers although they are white and non-members.

  • Workers are not coming to work due to intimidation.

  • Hek afgebreek. Dit nadat hulle ander hekke verder af ook gebreek het en na ons 'n vurkhyser bestuurder aangerand het.

  • Non-members are also intimidated.

  • A Numsa member told me straight that they will come inside by any means possible and they will beat our staff. I responded that it was illegal to do so. I was then threatened that if they found workers inside they would burn the building to the ground.

  • …and hundreds more!

…and then this (typical) letter from an employer:
 

"We have 46 people, and we had to apply once again for short-time.  Out of the 46 workers, there are only 8 NUMSA members, but the rest of the 19 black non-NUMSA workers were threatened and intimidated.  They are now begging us to help them financially, but we are not able help any one of them. 

We are planning on letting all the NUMSA members, including some of the others, work short-time until the end of this year.  There is just no other way, it is crippling us!
 
If SEIFSA give in to their demands, we will have no option, but to close the business permanently at the end of this year.  We are a small business and can’t afford these increases.  As we all know, the mines are down-scaling, and our small companies as really battling to survive. It just isn't worth it."
 
You can also view pictures submitted by our members here.

Stand firm! 
 
Gerhard Papenfus