08 February 2010
By Reggy Nyandeni
It has been a longwhile since workers at ALSTOM have been negotiating with management about lack of adequate skills development programme, coherent grading system and centralized bargaining as well as persistent racial discrimination, negligence of health and safety standards, according to Mametlwe Sebei, Media and Campaigns Co-ordinator of Metal and Electrical Workers Union of SA (MEWUSA).
Alstom is a large French multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets.
“It has become clear during the series of meetings that took place in the company that the management is intransigent and not willing to end racism that is rife, poor health and safety, chronic shortage and uneven distribution of skills and also other grievances that have been subject of discussions at plant level”, Sebei added.
“After all the repeated attempts to engage constructively and amicably resolve the above and other matters of concern to workers, have proven to be a dismal failure, the workers felt they had no choice but to resort to a rolling, mass actions and which will continue until such time a satisfactory settlement is reached”, Sebei explaining the reason for embarking on protest action.
The unions at the Knights plant have put up a united front, with the protest led by both MEWUSA and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).
The strike started last week Thursday and is still on.