2010 gets reprieve as wage talks start

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Construction work at the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadiums will continue while building unions and employers negotiate a wage increase.

The construction workers earn R11 an hour, but are demanding R19 an hour - a gigantic hike of almost 80percent.

Albert Masuku, president of the Building Construction and Allied Workers' Union (BCAWU), said yesterday the union had temporarily suspended the strike that was supposed to have started yesterday.

"We had a promising meeting with the employers and it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

The construction companies include Murray & Roberts and Bombela Concession Company.

Masuku said the union was suspending its decision to strike to give employers an opportunity to improve their offer.

"Our intention is not to strike, but to get a wage increase," he said.

On Sunday the union threatened to bring construction to a halt unless the companies building the stadiums increased the wages they paid their workers. However, work continued as normal yesterday while the negotiations continued

More than 3500 of the union's members are involved in building and refurbishing stadiums around the country.

Last month, work was halted at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town due to a wage dispute.