Strike hits World Cup venues

2010_stadiumJOHANNESBURG Construction work at some of South Africas 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer venues was put on hold last week after about 70 000 construction workers embarked on strike to push for more pay.

The indefinite strike action, which began on Wednesday, was called by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), after marathon wage talks with the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) management failed to break the salary deadlock.

NUM an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), one of the tripartite formations in the countrys ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had given management July 2, 2008, as the deadline to better its 10.4 percent salary hike offer but resolved on the industrial action after talks collapsed with no solution having been found.

The union is demanding a salary increment of 13 percent across the board, two percent less than its initial amount, and vowed that the industrial action would continue until management gave in to the workers demands.

The strike comes barely three months before the Local Organising Committees (LOC) deadline for hand-over of the stadiums to world soccer governing body FIFA.

NUM official Lesiba Seshoka vowed that the union would stick to its latest demands.

We were hoping that by Thursday they would have given us a proper outcome and that is the 15 percent that we are looking for, but they did not and it is now time for us to down tools, said Seshoka.

Affected 2010 venues included the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, Moses Mabhida in Durban, Soccer City in Johannesburg and others in Nelspruit and Polokwane.

King Shaka International Airport in Durban harbour and a power station in Umnambithi, KwaZulu-Natal, are also some of the projects affected.

Five new stadiums are being built for the tournament and they comprise three new match venues and two new practice grounds, while five of the existing venues are to be upgraded at an expected cost of R8.4 billion.

In addition to the stadiums being built and upgraded for the world soccer showcase in South Africa, the country is also planning to improve its current public transport infrastructure within the various cities and projects such as the Gautrain and the new Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), titled Rea Vaya, have all been affected by the crippling strike.

The country is also going to implement special measures to ensure the safety and security of local and international tourists attending the matches in accordance with standard FIFA requirements.

2010 LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza promised a LOC board meeting to map the best way forward.

“We have to respect the workers democratic right to strike but we must find a way forward concerning progress at those stadiums. We hope that a LOC board meeting will find a way to resolve this problem.”

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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