A dispute at one of Cape Town's famous tourist attractions is threatening to affect the city's tourism industry negatively.
Yesterday, the Robben Island Museum council held crisis talks to avert a strike by workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union.
Workers have been picketing all week at the Waterfront terminal, where ferry boats depart for the island. They are threatening to embark on a strike that could disrupt trips to the former prison.
The workers want interim chief executive Seelan Naidoo removed.
Senior managers sent a memorandum to the museum council last week, saying Naidoo "has lost the plot".
Relations between museum council head Naledi Tsiki and Naidoo have also broken down.
Central to the dispute is a memorandum by Naidoo that former arts and culture minister Pallo Jordan had given him permission to restructure the museum, including leasing former warders' houses to a hotel group and making permanent staff reapply for their jobs.
Tsiki apparently responded by issuing his own memorandum to staff saying he had instructed Naidoo to put the restructuring on hold until new Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana was appointed.
Senior managers said under Naidoo's leadership, "50 percent of staff are on month-to- month contracts that have created anxiety and instability".
Naidoo has denied the allegations. "I am not at loggerheads with the chairperson, though we do disagree on certain issues," he said.
Museum council spokesperson Phillip Dexter said the council was committed to "attending to workers' grievances, but the proposed restructuring, which includes income-generating projects, must continue".