Workers demand 10percent hike

PROTEST ACTION: Cosatu workers on strike in Industria West Johannesburg, yesterday. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 01/10/07. © Sowetan.
PROTEST ACTION: Cosatu workers on strike in Industria West Johannesburg, yesterday. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 01/10/07. © Sowetan.

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Printing presses at Caxton Publishers and Printers in Johannesburg came to a halt yesterday when its entire black workforce of about 100 downed tools, threatening that newspapers would not be available today.

Caxton, which owns the Citizen newspaper, also prints Sowetan and The Times newspapers, among other titles.

The workers, who belong to the Cosatu-affiliated Chemical Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union, went on strike over wages, working hours and general working conditions.

"Management offered us a six percent increase," said Sunday Chabalala, a shop steward.

"We want 10percent and until we get it, there is no way we are going to the printing works."

The workers are also demanding a housing allowance, cancellation of a 6am to 6pm shift, and that the company offer permanent contracts to casual workers.

"We do not have any housing allowance, and on the other hand we do not qualify for government houses.

"What are we supposed to do?" said Chabalala.

Caxton's general manager, Peter Vos, said the striking workers' demands are unreasonable.

"Ninety percent of the workers accepted the six percent increase. Those who are protesting are being intimidated by the union," said Vos.

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