Striking South African Workers Vent Anger at Tyre Plant Bosses
Striking workers at Continental Tyre South Africa’s Port Elizabeth factory have expressed their feelings towards deadlocked wage negotiations with what one local media source has described as a “rampage.” The Port Elizabeth Herald described the July 31 events as nearly becoming “out of control,” with “verbal abuse exchanged between the group and police.” Part of the road outside the plant was reportedly barricaded with burning tyres and a number of motor vehicles belonging to employees not participating in the strike were damaged.
Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) were well represented amongst the demonstrative group outside the plant, and Continental is accusing them of not adhering to the accepted rules of picketing. “The company can‘t condone an act of this nature. Under the circumstances we will be forced to enforce the picketing order,” Continental Tyre spokesman Attie Higgs told media. In its defence Numsa said the display of anger was symbolic of the workers’ growing frustration and desperation, and the union accused the plant bosses of “not negotiating in good faith.”