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Mthembu, Ntokozo  (2006) Does the current security strike liberate or further subjugate?. Centre for Civil Society : -.

Where does the industrial action that has been raging for some days in the security industry by workers lead this sector? These some of the questions that start to crop up in some of the people who are concern about the safety and the survival of the extremely exploited workers in South Africa in particular in sector like this of security. This strike is viewed and expectations that are hoped for are different by various people.

This type of development can be viewed as one of those normal seasonal or momentary up “swings in modes” of workers or just another normal politicking of keeping eyes and minds of the public busy with something to happen attitude. I’m saying this because workers struggle in general over the past years from the 1920s – likes of the white mine workers that embarked on industrial action as part of advancing their interests within white regime. But what is interesting about this episode is that white workers were co-opted by the rulers. In our times things happened to be slightly the opposite because the government of the day is seen to be ruled by black people for white people. Another interesting part is that majority of bosses in this industry is highly infested by the former apartheid police officers. On other hand the trade union that is on strike is the affiliate of the one of the so-called big federation in South Africa. In addition, the federation seems to be riding the tidal wave that keeps it floating and seen to be doing something tangible for the workers in general whilst it has become part and parcel of the problem. This seen today as it is the gang member who blesses any so called legislation that brought about these types of working conditions.

The sad part in this whole scene is that black workers who are exposed to terrible working conditions are haunted by the phenomena of being treated as cheap and nothing to offer except selling their labour power. This is witnessed by the manner in which bosses or whoever managed to convince the other segment of labour movement to come to a compromised deal from what was initially set. The worse part is that most of the time when the industrial actions take place what you find is that black soul is treated like a soiled paper that is tossed to dirt bin mercilessly. This is also witnessed in this industrial action of security workers, as we see and read in the media that some security workers suspected to be working are subjected to death. I’m not saying the “amagundane’ are fine but I’m asking who benefit when that poor black worker is thrown out of the window of the moving train? Who benefit when that dotty ‘gundanes’ work and earn a meagre wage that takes them nowhere in meeting their sound daily survival?. So, these questions need to be answered if we mean we are for workers rights and we need also to understand these so called rights. Because these so called workers rights happened to aspired for, they tend to be handcuffs. They are handcuffs because they are made to secure the interest of the capital not for the workers. This will be soon witnessed as various bodies and government are threatening to sue the union for the damages done when workers were advancing the basis of their struggle. The same rights are silent about the system that keeps those poor workers earning slave wages with no benefits and securing the group of benefited police.

Another point that needs attention is the signed agreement and as well as the need to alter it for a new one. Now the profit driven security bosses like any business person are faced with a great challenge of which is how to reach a second deal / agreement that will include the first batch of unions that signed the agreement and the union that call its members to the current action. Another interesting aspect is that whether bosses will sign agreement at an increased offer from the first one and that will mean “automatically” include the first unions signed agreement at low rate. Another concern is whether that the union that is currently in action and its members will accept the agreement that will include the unions signed the first agreement?

Another point of concern is the understanding of the relationship between police gatekeepers – the security officers and the served – police that are guarded by the security officers in this new set of skirmishes. These skirmishes are marked by a normal scene of blood letting of the dispossessed and extremely exploited black worker, as they were/ are kicked and drawn from the streets of mother city of thugs and everywhere. Do you think the already set relationship will strengthen or weaken and die or harmonized in the same old manner of keeping one another at arms length? Although that we are told that police force has changed or transformed but what is very interesting they are still wearing the same old apartheid blue regalia with stigma of shedding, looting people and shooting the black souls down. The current security strike reminds me of old South Africa of the Stem of which is the second half or quarter leg or stanza or concoction or whatever of the so called national anthem of the new South African especially, when I see the manner in which black worker are treated like this.

Another question that comes up is whether the so called revolutionary will consider this industrial action as the sign that capitalists won’t rest whilst continue exploiting workers. Do you think who will become as victor in this action? I think capital will win as they have a concerted effort to oppress, maim, shoot to kill, arrest and subject individuals in the long and bureaucratic legislative parades known as court proceedings. Workers on other hand workers are divided and the so called major federations are honeymooning with the capitalist regime at NEDLAC and keep on calling thousands of marches that are dedicated to the strengthening capitalists’ aspirations of keeping the dispossessed demanding to be enslave through being subjected to working as the solution to their problems and not demanding their powers to own the means of production or to seize the reigns of government. Do you think this industrial action by security workers in liberating or further entrenches capitalism?

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