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Security guards strike over unpaid bonuses

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Security guards at the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture will continue with indefinite strike action until they receive their outstanding bonuses.

Numsa members have embarked on an indefinite strike at the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SECURITY guards at the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture will continue with indefinite strike action until they receive their outstanding bonuses.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) representative Lila Nkosikhona said that the bonuses were supposed to have been paid by February 29.

“Our employer, NTP Security, a Limpopo-based company, also paid last year’s bonuses late last year. We are not confident that it will honour its commitments. All the employees are locally based,” said Nkosikhona.

He was also aggrieved that stand-by security guards had been appointed during the strike action.

“The money that was used to pay the stand-by security could have been used to pay out our bonuses.”

Nehawu branch secretary Moses Vorster claimed that the service provider was appointed at a tender price that was undervalued and the company was unable to pay the standard tariffs for security guards.

“The department will not be able to in-source security services until the current contract comes to an end. We will ensure that the current workers are permanently employed at the department. We know there will be monkey tricks to employ earmarked beneficiaries.”

A human resources official at NTP Security indicated that they had communicated and apologised to Numsa, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and all staff, as they were experiencing challenges in paying out the bonuses on February 29.

“We informed them that bonus payments would be settled on March 15 and were surprised when workers embarked on protest action on site,” the official said.

He indicated that out of a total of 77 workers, 70 percent of Satawu members, non-affiliated members and stand-by guards were on site.

“The strike should not have taken place to start with and stand-by guards were appointed as extra assistance was required. A no-work, no-pay arrangement applies. We were unable to pay Numsa members their bonuses by March 11, as they demanded.

“The department set up a meeting as the protest was staged at their premises this week. The department is up to date with all payments to the company. They wanted to assist in releasing our March invoice mid-month to save the situation but that didn’t happen and correspondence was sent out to Numsa and their shop stewards on March 7. A separate meeting was held with shop stewards on March 9.”

He explained that despite challenges, they would pay the bonuses.

“The tender was under-valued and we don’t get annual increases, but we pay Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) approved tariffs and benefits, hence we are struggling to fulfil our obligations on time. We will complete the contract that ends in the next 11 months.”

A spokesperson for the provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Conrad Fortune, indicated that they had engaged with the security company to give guarantees of safety for its building and employees.

“The three-year security service contract will end in 2025. The insourcing of security guards is led by the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, who will handle the recruitment process,” said Fortune.

He added that the head of department had requested a full report from NTP Security regarding the strike.

Numsa members have embarked on an indefinite strike at the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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