Durban - Pinetown police are investigating a case of attempted murder after a shop steward was wounded during a protest outside business premises, this week.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in KwaZulu-Natal embarked on a strike, on March 9, outside Jasco Electrical Manufacturers, an engineering company based in Pinetown.
Staff members, who wished to remain anonymous, said a private security company had arrived and threw a smoke grenade towards the crowd to disperse them.
It is alleged that rubber bullets were also fired. Emmanuel Mnyandu, a Jasco employee and shop steward, was struck by rubber bullets, one of which penetrated his skin and punctured his lung.
He is recovering in a Durban hospital. Staff said Mnyandu was on the sidelines of the protest giving the media an interview when the smoke grenade was thrown at them.
Shop steward Justice Mthembu said they had won a court matter recently where the company sought an interdict from the court to stop the strike.
Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile HlubiMajola said Jasco is a member of the Metals Engineering Industries Bargaining Council and it employs 300 people.
“The management of Jasco are refusing to implement the increase which Numsa members secured during the national engineering strike which took place last October. The strike secured a 6% increase but the management of the company is refusing to implement. We reject their excuses and we demand the immediate implementation of the increase,” Hlubi-Majola said.
Members are suffering from the heavy burden of high food costs, high fuel costs, and the added burden of supporting unemployed extended family members on their low salaries, Hlubi-Majola said.
Jasco Electrical Manufacturing makes parts for Defy and KIC, and as a result, these companies are likely to be affected by the strike.
“Instead of negotiating with the union to resolve the strike, they are rushing to court to interdict the strike.
“The money they are wasting on attorneys could be spent on implementing the increase. They will not intimidate us into backing down from our demands through this frivolous court action,” Hlubi-Majola said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said police were investigating the matter.
A request for comment was sent to Jasco Electrical, but they had not responded by time of publication.