Press Release: Management of Green Point 2010 Stadium's Intransigence Threatens Negotiations
24th of Sept. 2007
The National Union Mineworkers (NUM) and the Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union (BCWU) have been in depth negotiations for the past seven hours with the management of the joint venture between WHBO and Murray & Roberts. Today's difficult negotiations resulted in an agreement on transport for construction workers at the Green Point 2010 Stadium.
However, this is agreement is under threat from management's desire to seek retribution on striking workers. Management is demanding that all hourly workers sign a form that would effectively prevent workers from improving their working condition through collective action. Further, management reserves the right to implement disciplinary actions against workers who have spoken out and embarked on industrial action.
This desire for retribution is standing in the way of peaceful conclusion to the labour dispute, and is in extreme bad faith. This attitude towards workers who are contributing to South Africa's successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup is blinded by narrow profit and is at the expense of public interest. Decent labour conditions and pay is a method of ensuring that the wealth generated by the 2010 World Cup reaches all levels of society, not just that of rich construction bosses.
This dispute is made all the more strange by intense profitability of both WHBO and Murray & Roberts. In the last financial year (2006), Murray & Roberts made over R730 million in before tax profit while WHBO made over R300 million in pre-tax profits. This is 20% and 54% rise respectively in profits from 2006.
Providing basic and adequate transport for lowly-paid employees, often working in physically-demanding and hazardous conditions, would hardly affect the profit levels of these corporations. The dispute has been protracted and contested because of managements desire to squeeze as much profit out of the workers as possible. This is unacceptable and contrary to the spirit and intentions of 2010 development objectives.
Their insistence on disciplining desperate workers who stood up for their rights smacks entirely of revenge and not of public interest. This is why the dispute is not yet completely resolved. One can only wonder if this is part of campaign to destroy unionized labour in 2010 construction projects, and thereby ensuring higher levels of profit from public funds.
Management of the 2010 Green Point Stadium must cease this hostile behaviour and abide by pre-existing agreements.
While the location of a transport venue has been agreed (Cnr. Marine and Civic), management is delaying agreement on a timeline for implementation, yet again. Management must come to agreement on a timeline without delay and drop its preposterous and irresponsible demands to prosecute workers for legitimate industrial action. Building at the Stadium can commence if management is willing to be reasonable and not vindictive.
In summation, it is the management who are jeopardizing South Africa's 2010 future in the name of a couple of extra rand. The workers demands are reasonable, fair and in line with the reasons behind 2010 itself.
For more information, please contact:
Campaign for Decent Work Towards 2010 & Beyond