Wed, 23 Jun 2021

Fidelity Security officers who were taking Clover SA workers home, found themselves in the crossfire of heated protests in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg on Thursday.

"Two of our vehicles were burned. The other is okay. The striking guys, over 100 of them surrounded our vehicles. Our crew tactically managed to remove themselves from the vehicle and helped get the staff get to a safe place," Fidelity Security Group's head of communications Charnel Hattingh told News24.

Hattingh said six officers contracted at the Clover SA's Midrand branch were hemmed in by a group of protesters, while dropping off about 20 Clover SA employees at their homes.

Clover SA is one of South Africa's biggest food and beverage producers and has offices across the country.

Several of its employees who are affiliated to General Industrial Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) took to the streets nationwide with a list of 27 demands, last week.

Wage disputes

At the top of their list is a request for a wage increase of 12%.

However, Clover SA is said to only be offering 5%.

The security guards are suspected to have been targeted because they were transporting workers who chose to continue working despite the nationwide strike.

Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo told News24 that the matter was under investigation, and a case of malicious damage to property and public violence was opened.

"Three vehicles from Fidelity were attacked by this group of people. No-one was injured, but two vehicles were set alight, and one was over-turned," Masondo said.

GIWUSA deputy general secretary Charles Phahla told News24 that he could not confirm whether or not it was indeed his members that were involved in the torching of the security vehicles.

"We are not sure who did that, but obviously as the union's leadership, we condemn any form of violence that is done by members or anyone that will disrupt our good cause. We don't need any criminal activities. Whether they are members or not, it's uncalled for. We don't need a country that is up in flames. We believe that the police will do their job and arrest those who are responsible," Phahla said.

Prolonged protests

However, Phahla said they would continue to dig in their heels.

"We believe that if we make management feel the pain and then [sic] they will come to the table and negotiate. They are playing politics by talking to the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), who is not even striking and not talking to us, which agitates our members even more," he said.

Source: News24

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