work might stop on 2010 stadiums

THE completion of the 2010 World Cup stadiums on time is being threatened by construction workers.

The estimated 50000 workers involved in the multibillion-rand projects yesterday threatened to down tools if their wage dispute with the South African Federation of Civil Engineers was not properly resolved.

Safcec includes big construction companies Group Five, Murray and Roberts, WBHO and Grinaker-LTA

The union is demanding a 15percent wage increase, but their employers are offering 7percent.

Work on these stadiums have already been hit by workers protesting against working conditions and low ages.

"It will be the mother of all strikes," NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said yesterday.

"It will be the first time that we will have a unified strike at all projects in various sectors in the industry. The matter is already up for conciliation at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration."

Seshoka accuses Safcec of being selfish by refusing to grant their workers a 15 percent increment.

"They are refusing to give their employees 15percent while chief executives of these companies have received 38percent increases.

"Their employees are paid a minimum wage of R2500 a month. Grinaker-LTA has, for example, declared profit of more than 910percent."

Most workers in the constrcution industry are on short-term contracts, but Seshoka argues that because their contracts are renewable they are entitled to salary reviews and have the right to strike.

Safcec's spokesperson Nick Gray said: "I'm not at liberty to comment.

"Please contact the office on Monday (today)."