Strike hits Coke depot
More than 100 casual workers at the Nelspruit Coke Fortune depot are on strike demanding permanent contracts and better wages.
The company allegedly halted fixed contracts which resulted in reductions in pay for workers.
Jimmy Ngwenyama (*not his real name) is responsible for deliveries of soft drinks in Mpumalanga.
Ngwenyama said he does deliveries as far as Badplaas in the Eastern Highveld, Makhado in the Highveld, Nkomatipoort in the Nkomazi region as well as parts of the Kruger National Park.
"All we want is to be recognised as workers, be returned to the fixed contracts so that we can earn better wages and be allowed to join a union," Ngwenyama said yesterday.
He said the cancellation of fixed contracts was a blow because in the past workers would be paid for reporting for duty even when there was no work on that day.
He said the current situation made it difficult for them to afford bus fares or fend for their families as they are paid only if there is work on a particular day.
The workers downed tools since last Thursday and have vowed that they will not return to work unless their grievances are addressed.
They also confirmed that their strike action was illegal but said they do not have any other way to make their voices heard.
"We are not allowed to join unions so how can we protect ourselves?
"We are even insulted and embarrassed by being addressed as casual workers," said another worker.
Permanent staffers continued to work yesterday but they were apparently outnumbered by the striking workers.
Attempts to get comment from Coke Fortune management were unsuccessful as the human resources manager, Mandla Gama, was in a meeting.