Germiston street cleaners on protected strike attacked by hired thugs armed with sjamboks
Today, an employer and his hired thugs armed with sjamboks travelled around Germiston in a bakkie attacking street cleaners - mostly women - who have been on a protected strike for the last 2 weeks over working conditions and wage issues. The employer also stormed into the offices of the CWAO (which has been assisting the workers), threatening to burn it down and viciously assaulting a volunteer who had to be taken to hospital.
The outrageous events today have taken place against the backdrop of clear collusion between the employer and the local police to harass and intimidate the workers. Over the last 2 weeks of the protected strike police have, in several instances, been accompanied by the employer when they have arrested workers on the usual charges of "public violence". Not surprisingly, none of the charges have stuck and all workers have had to be released. The CWAO has evidence that the police possess a list of all the employees of the company, but were happy to release the thugs involved in the attacks on the workers. Two weeks ago the police beat up and shot rubber bullets as a small group of workers involved in a demonstration, this after the municipal police consistently refused to respond to the workers' request to protest and demonstrate in support of their demand that they be directly employed by the municipality.
A key reason why the employer has acted so violently and brazenly is linked to the fact that the tender for street cleaning in Germiston is up for renewal at the same time as the workers have been on strike. The Municipality refuses to divulge any information as to whether the tender has been awarded and to whom, although a new company, Mvume Investments, claims to have a short-term tender with the Municipality. Mvume Investments is owned by the same individuals (under a different name) who also owned LMM Training and Development, the company that had the previous tender. Not surprisingly, CWAO has also learnt that there are serious questions being asked around corruption and nepotism as part of Germiston's R520 million solid waste contracts.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT CONTACT:
IGHSAAN SCHROEDER OF CWAO on 0798882229