Cape Town – Workers of recycling company Don’t Waste protested at the company’s V&A Waterfront base of operations yesterday, saying they were fired for joining a union.
They had joined the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) after complaining about their wages and working conditions.
Mother-of-four Cingelwa Lengisi, who stays at Helen Bowden Hospital, said she had been working for Don’t Waste for the past three years and was a permanent employee.
“The manager called us into the office last Monday one by one, and they told us that we are fired and must go to the company’s Bellville office.
“We were fired because we joined the union because we complained about our the payment rates,” she said.
Lengisi said she worked as a sorter, separating bottles and cans and then putting them in different bags on a conveyor belt, which used to be manned by male workers.
She said they faced a number of dangers from working on the conveyor belt, and that their rates were R11.34 an hour, for a basic salary of R2 200, which was not fair, considering the number of hours they worked. She said they worked from 7am to 7pm as permanent workers.
Don’t Waste markets itself as leading the market in South Africa by providing an environmentally friendly and sustainable waste solution that not only contributes to a cleaner environment, but positively impacts its clients’ bottom line.
Satawu official Bongani Matana said about 60 workers were dismissed.
“The workers have been here since Thursday, and while they have voiced concerns regarding their employment, there have been no negotiations with management.
“We have contacted the site manager to discuss the workers’ issues, but after the police came to disperse our members during one protest at the premises, he changed his mind and refused to deal with us,” he said.
Attempts to reach Don’t Waste operational manager Gary Byrne were unsuccessful. The call was redirected to another person, who refused to give a name but provided the number of another senior manager, who declined to comment or provide a full name.