Action at Work: Dancing on workers’ heads

A Vanderbijlpark company, organised since 1986 by the late Lucas Tabane, is harassing active Numsa shop stewards so that they become afraid to push union activities.

Meanwhile they are encouraging the growth of the Mine Workers Union. An active Numsa shop steward was reprimanded by the Director of the company while having a meeting trying to resolve a disciplinary enquiry that involved a Numsa member.

When the shop steward questioned the status of the person chairing the meeting who was in fact the Director of the company, the director felt undermined and embarrassed to be asked his status in front of members. "Is this what the union teaches you, you fool, don't you know who I am?" the Director asked.

The shop steward was instructed to make a written apology, failing which he would be sued for what he had said. "I had to apologise to management," said the shop steward. "These people are cruel, if you make just a little mistake you are out.

I don't like to do this but what can I do because I am a family man," he said. Since this incident happened, all the shop stewards are no longer active. They are loath to participate in union activities.

When another young shop steward continued to defend workers, management promoted him to a higher position as a way of silencing him. He was given parking space for his car inside the company.

But then a group of young white workers became jealous of him and everyday they would punch his wheels. The matter was taken to his superiors. His superiors proposed that he park his car outside the company premises.

But this meant a 20-minute walk for him to his workplace and exposure of his car to danger outside the company premises. "Comrades must not allow management to dance on workers' heads," advises local organiser, Lazarus More.

"Numsa News and Numsa Bulletin are available in the office. Shop stewards and workers must read them. They provide information that can motivate them to be strong.

Numsa members must build the struggle of the working class, do not be intimidated by other unions! Remember – united we stand, divided we fall!"


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