Biggest Fashion Sale Of The Year! Shop 12 000 Up To 70% OFF!
Cape Town -
Parking marshals in Cape Town’s CBD downed tools on Monday to protest against what they call exploitative conditions of employment.
About 60 marshals employed by Street Parking Solutions (SPS) picketed outside their employer’s offices in Castle Street, confronted by three security guards with dogs and SPS managers filming the picket from the roof top above.
Although the marshals signed with the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) after falling out with their employer in September, Monday’s strike was unprotected.
Labour lawyer Michael Bagraim has welcomed the involvement of the union. But he warned that the marshals should not forego the proper channels of negotiations with employers and legal strike action made possible by the involvement of the union.
Seven SPS marshals were dismissed for their involvement in a similar picket outside the offices in mid-September. Then marshals told the Cape Argus that they had not received agreed rebates, that they had to clean office toilets during work time without pay, and that they had to chip in if they did not reach their daily targets as set by SPS.
Two weeks later, the majority of marshals signed up with Satawu.
Thembela Dakuse, Satawu’s provincial secretary, said SPS security had blocked union officials from entering the company’s offices. Management had also apparently refused to respond to the union’s attempts to set up a meeting.
“We need to be recognised by management as the union representing the majority of workers. Negotiations about payment and working conditions can only start once that has happened,” she said.
If the company did not respond within the required 21 days, the union would approach the CCMA to intervene.
In September, Bagraim called for SPS’s employment practices to be investigated by the City of Cape Town, which awarded SPS its contract for parking management in 2009.
The city said the Department of Labour had been asked to produce a report on the company’s compliance with labour legislation.
Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, said on Monday the city had not received this report. The department also did not respond to Cape Argus inquiries.
Zunade Loghdey, owner of SPS, has consistently refused to comment since being contacted in September.
Meanwhile, motorists had carte blanche to park anywhere they liked on Monday. “I wish I had known, because the parking fees are super expensive and I usually park far away from my office as a result,” said Dieter Hoffman, a government employee working in the CBD.
The marshals are expected to return to work on Tuesday.