Security sector workers marched from the Kemo Hotel to the Premier’s Office to highlight the exploitation of workers who are facing ongoing challenges, including the non-payment of salaries, provident funds, medical schemes and unemployment fund fees.
SECURITY sector workers marched from the Kemo Hotel to the Premier’s Office in Kimberley on Wednesday to highlight the exploitation of workers who are facing ongoing challenges including the non-payment of salaries, provident funds, medical schemes and unemployment fund fees.
Members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Abanqobi Workers Union (Awu), the Kungwini Amalgamated Workers Union (Kawu) and progressive unions in the private security sector in the Northern Cape and parts of the Free State and North West also paid a visit to non-compliant security companies in the city as well as the bargaining council.
The unions have given provincial government seven days to terminate the security contracts of companies that fail to observe the labour laws.
“Government cannot allow its premises to be protected by companies who don’t comply with the country’s rules and regulations,” the workers said.
“We will also appeal to law enforcement agencies and security authorities such as the Hawks to investigate any criminal activities and arrest and charge directors of non-compliant security companies.
“As workers, we are also aware of unscrupulous health-care service providers and insurance companies enticing and bribing company directors to dishonour the main collective agreement for personal gain at the devastating expense of workers. We will open criminal charges against these offenders.”
They added that the unions would approach clients of non-compliant security companies to ensure that they stopped doing business with them. “No company, no government department must do business with thieves, fraudsters and the corrupt.
“We are also petitioning President Cyril Ramaphosa to authorise the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate all departments and state-owned enterprises with security contracts that continue to disregard the main collective agreement in the private security sector.”
The memorandum stated that security companies used “dirty tricks and unlawful methods” to avoid registering security officers for health care and provident fund benefits.
“The payment of health care, basic income and overtime allowances are not only essential prerequisites for their livelihood, but also a precondition for productivity. Therefore, restoring and maintaining security officers’ livelihoods is not a favour but rather a function of a company’s profits and bonuses.
“Violation of these rights amounts to humiliation of labour unions, workers and their families.
“Our members live in poverty and lack. Poorly paid workers are always at the risk of sinking even further into poverty because of the adverse effects of illness on their earnings and general welfare.
“Forcing workers to choose between buying food and paying for hospital care must end. Forcing workers to choose between paying for their children’s education and clothing and seeing a medical doctor must end now.
“The fraudulent stop-and-start payments to provident funds results in workers not having any retirement savings,” the unions added.
Video: Soraya Crowie