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Mthembu, Ntokozo (2006) Bosses in the security industry are united and workers remain divided.. Centre for Civil Society : -.

Today on the 13th April 2006, Durban experienced some traffic jam especially when you were entering and leaving the city centre. This situation arises after security unions reached a point of misunderstanding about the offer made by the employers’ organizations such as Security Services Employers Organisation- SSEO, South African National Security Employers Association–SANSEA and three others. This division of the workers in the security industry started to be visible after about a number of trade unions such as National Security and Unqualified Workers Union-NASUWU, National Security Workers Union –NASWU and others organizing in this sector ‘reached’ wage agreement on the 25 March 2006. In the process SATAWU was left outside the agreement because it is alleged that the union representatives did not attend the signing ‘ceremony’.

This situation has been made worse by the continuing of the industrial action as SATAWU members in Durban embarked on marches to the Department of Labour demanding the cancellation of the signed agreement and the re-opening of wage talks. The point of contention is that SATAWU don’t agree on the terms of the signed agreement which stipulate that parties agree that the wage rates of all Security Officers in Grade E in Area 1 shall receive increase according to three basic rates that equals to R120.00 and is not clear whether monthly or yearly. The agreement further states that all other areas and categories of employment will receive the equivalent percentage value increase to R120.00. The parties further agreed on the service benefits, transfer allowance, limitation to overtime, study leave, night shift allowance, remuneration of armed response officer and maternity. On other hand SATAWU wage increase between 10 and 11%, increase to provident fund and maternity leave.

After I spoken to some SATAWU members who indicated that they come from areas such as Richards Bay, Newcastle and other surrounding areas of Durban and they are not happy with the signed agreement. When these members were asked about the agreement as it contained some of their demand but they said they are the majority in the sector and they have to be part of the agreement in the sector. When I spoke to other unions who was part of the signing of the agreement indicated that SATAWU has been part of the negotiation process but on the signing day they did not arrive. These unions indicated that there was no way they would wait for a union that represent the majority of workers in the transport industries and represent about 0.9% in the security industry.

So, this type of situation makes one to start asking some questions that need to be answered because workers inn this sector happened to be among those who are highly exploited. Furthermore, under writers have indicated that workforce in this sector is much higher than police force itself that they-security officers are charged to secure their gates at such poor working conditions. I’m saying this because firstly the police officers are ‘highly’ trained, have ‘superior’ weapons than batons and enjoy vast fringe benefits such as provident fund, medical aid and related benefits. In other words the poorly equipped and starving security guards they have to protect the better trained and equipped police. Nor wonder why we experience police station robberies in the broad daylight because the the security officers are required to protect guns with batons. I don’t know who came up with this idea of police station to be guarded by the ‘mini police’ and how they ensure that all security companies there is no corruption in the corrupt capitalism. The challenge is with the union leaders to wake up and advance the workers struggle now not tomorrow. Where we go from hear?

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