Half a million security guards may go on strike soon, unions warn

  • Unions representing private security guards say that 500 000 employees in the sector will embark on a strike over wages in September. 
  • Some unions in the sector are demanding an increase of 16%, while employers are offering a maximum of 5%.
  • One union warned of a repeat of the violent security guard strike in 2006, which left 60 people dead.  
    Employers are offering wage hikes of around 5%.

    READ | Watchdog orders massive fines, removal of trustees from security guards’ retirement fund

    Kawu said in a joint statement that unions tabled a proposal to declare a national strike.

    “The employers’ continued pessimistic approach is leaving us with no option as leaders of the unions, and we are moving towards having all our private security officers going on a national strike.

    “Unfortunately this will lead our beautiful country to a standstill as it transpired in 2006. We don’t want confrontation with the employers but we are left with no choice, our security officers are suffering, we all know how basic needs of everyday life are skyrocketing because of various challenges confronting the world,” the statement said.

    In 2006, the private security sector faced a strike in Johannesburg, which turned violent and led to 60 deaths.

    The statement said that “refusal” by the sector’s employers to improve workers’ salaries was unacceptable as some security officers were earning less than R6 000.

    The statement said workers will be submitting draft picketing rules on Thursday and are expected to sign picketing rules between 12 and 26 September.

    But on Monday night, Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann denied that there was a deadlock in the ongoing negotiations. He said the parties have agreed to two further dates to continue the wage negotiations, on 1 and 12 September.

    “We are confident that a mutually acceptable collective agreement will be concluded during those meetings as the parties are continuing to engage collaboratively on the various issues,” said Bartmann.

    Deputy secretary-general of the Saftu-aligned Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union (Detawu) Vusi Ntshangase said the union supported the strike and was already mobilising in preparation for the industrial action.

    The Cosatu-aligned South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said it was currently in the process of submitting picketing rules and would work with employers on Thursday to finalise the arrangements.

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