Durban stadium workers strike

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Barely two days after Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium was commended as one of the province's safest building sites, more than 1000 construction workers downed tools and protested against the unsafe and life-threatening conditions they work under.

The construction site scooped an industry award at the weekend for the safest building site in KwaZulu-Natal. Two months ago, construction was suspended for three weeks after the Department of Labour paid an unannounced visit to the site. Officials then declared the site unsafe and putting the lives of workers at risk.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Bonginkosi Mncwabe has described the award as an insult to the workers who voiced their concerns about safety on the site months ago. He said workers' concerns had not been taken seriously.

Mncwabe said even the Department of Labour had visited the site on more than one occasion and declared the area unsafe and life-threatening. He said news of the safety award came as a shock to the workers.

The NUM is demanding bonuses of at least R1500 a month for each worker. The union is also demanding that subcontractors meet the minimum wage for the civil engineering sector, and reasonable working hours that are in line with the country's labour laws.

Mncwabe said they were determined to go all the way with the strike as they saw no quick solution to the problem.

"The way that the negotiations are going, it is not likely that a solution will be found soon. We expect the strike to continue indefinitely," Mncwabe said.

The union and employers were still locked in negotiations yesterday.