The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is continuing with the strike at York Timbers in Mpumalanga. The strike has been on since the 13th of November because the management of the company steadfastly refuse to allow workers to deal decisively with racism. Workers are being brutalized in the workplace. This vicious attack is being led by the CEO Piet Van Zyl who has made it his business to inflict maximum, misery on workers, by denying them the right to be represented by the union of their choice.

  1. We demand that the management at York timbers restore electricity and water supply to the hostels where workers live! The management team at York Timbers have cut the water and electricity supply to the hostels. This brutal attack is in response to the strike which has been ongoing since the 13th of November. Workers demand the right to be represented by NUMSA at the workplace, and the employer is trying to frustrate them. We condemn the management of York Timbers for their cruelty! This is clearly designed to undermine our members protected strike action and is extremely provocative. We are advised that this conduct amounts to an illegal eviction, in the absence of a court order. This conduct is also in breach of section 5(3) of the LRA which prohibits any employer from disadvantaging workers for exercising their rights under the LRA. We demand that the electricity and water be immediately reconnected! We will be taking legal action against York Timbers for this violation of basic human rights.
  2. NUMSA repeats the demand for disciplinary action to be taken against the CEO Piet Van Zyl. We remind the Board that the CEO is himself an employee and they are setting an unsavory precedent by refusing to take action against him in the face of allegations of misconduct. The company has been quick to take disciplinary steps against our members over allegations of misconduct, we demand that they do the same against the CEO. He is also a union basher who is denying workers the right to join the union of their choice.
  3. We demand all disciplinary charges against our members be withdrawn and those who have been suspended, must be reinstated. Our members are being victimized for participating in a legally protected strike. We demand that they be re-instated immediately, as this is another example of the vicious methods that York Timbers uses against workers.
  4. We demand the termination of Phoenix Security as it has become evident that it is in fact a private Army protecting the CEO and his cohorts. The security company hired by York Timbers is brutal and violent. Phoenix Security has used rubber bullets and live ammunition against our members. Several of our members have been shot at with rubber bullets. We condemn York Timbers for their brutality against our members. NUMSA has opened a case against Phoenix Security at the SAPS.

We are inspired by our members for their determination. They are making huge sacrifices in order to exercise their democratic right to strike. We call on them to continue to display courage and militant discipline.

We urge the management of York Timbers to take our demands seriously and to work with us to end the strike.

Aluta continua!
The struggle continues!
Issued by
Essau Tau
NUMSA Regional Secretary Mpumalanga
For more information, please contact:
Phakamile Hlubi-Majola
NUMSA National Spokesperson