Cape Town - Strikers armed with whips and knobkieries had several construction sites closed in the Helderberg - including large residential and retail centre projects near Somerset Mall.
At one point police used stun grenades to disperse a group of protesters. About 200 strikers arrived at the De Beers Avenue area shortly before noon and demanded that construction halt at a residential apartment development.
The strikers, from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), demanded that the workers inside join them.
The managers agreed to halt construction, on condition that the workers who had chosen to work were not harmed.
After 30 minutes, workers on the site - many who appeared to be terrified - walked off the site and across the road to join the striking workers. Many of the workers first armed themselves with anything resembling a weapon to appear as if they had always been part of the strike.
Work also ceased on a new shopping development which is to house a mega Checkers store next to Somerset Mall.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed that police dispersed a group of protesters in Somerset West yesterday.
“Three stun grenades were used to disperse striking construction workers in Somerset West. Strike action was monitored by the police in a number of areas and we will remain on high alert to maintain law and order.”
Traut added that areas affected by the striking workers were being patrolled by the police.
Strikes forced the closure of Hindle Road in Delft on Thursday, and police also responded to strike action in Old Faure Road, Lwandle, Borcherds Quarry and the Strand.
No arrests were reported.
Happiness Holiday, the Western Cape general secretary for the NUM, said negotiations between workers and employers were to go on until midnight. He said on Thursday night: “Hopefully I will be briefed before midnight on what happened and we will clearly know what happened by today.
“In the morning we will hold a meeting to discuss the outcome of last night’s meeting. The fact that they are taking long means there is a lot of revising going on.”
The NUM is demanding a 13-percent increase for this year and 14 percent for next year.
Employers are offering 10-percent increase for the lowest-paid workers and eight-percent increase for higher-earning workers, with inflation-linked increases next year.