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Durban - Striking Tradeport employees are expected to return to work on Friday after management agreed to pay higher wages.
Workers had been picketing outside sister company Favors Cash and Carry since the beginning of the week, but things got out of hand on Wednesday when heavily armed security allegedly opened fire, wounding five men.
According to an unconfirmed report, four of the men were discharged from King Edward Hospital on Thursday, while the fifth was said to be recovering.
Police confirmed that rubber bullets and live ammunition were used during the shootings.
Tradeport Distribution Network operational manager Feizal Bassa said the company had been disturbed by the shootings.
“We are disheartened with what happened. It was unnecessary. It happened at the spur of the moment. We will discuss ways to help the injured workers during the management meeting,” he said.
Bassa on Thursday described their happiness at reaching a settlement and commended Mazibuye African Forum for their professionalism while representing the workers.
“I commend them for their sterling work. We are 100 percent happy with the agreement. General workers had demanded R100, but they eventually agreed to R90 a day. At least the platform has been laid for future negotiations,” he said.
The operational manager confirmed that general workers had been getting paid R70 a day.
He alleged that half of the protesters were not their employees.
Bassa told the Daily News that a fire last year had destroyed one of Tradeport’s businesses, Ohlange Cash and Carry, and Favors Cash and Carry had taken on the Ohlange workers who had lost their jobs as an act of generosity.
Meanwhile, a camera snatched from a Daily News photographer during a commotion outside Favors Cash and Carry on Wednesday was collected by the Daily News on Thursday morning.
“We are sorry for the camera saga. We did not mean any harm to anyone,” said Bassa.