Security guard strike in South Africa

Image via Twitter: @COSATU Today

Security guards threaten nationwide strike amid wage disputes

Possible strike action looming for the security industry.

Security guard strike in South Africa

Image via Twitter: @COSATU Today

Around 150 000 workers in the security industry could embark on a wage strike if salary disputes aren’t attended to. Officials who represent nine major unions within the security industry claim to have mobilised members to go on strike if employees refuse to pay a minimum wage for security officers.

According to SABC News, such a strike would affect a number of businesses in South Africa. The sector has guards in malls, the mining industry, residential clusters, universities, and parking lots.

Unions want to strike for a decent minimum wage

Private security workers in Johannesburg during World Cup on 29 October 2010. Photo: Wikiwand

What the unions want is for the lowest paid security guard to get a minimum wage of between R7 500 and R8 500 per month. They also want the package to include medical aid.

On 25 September 2019, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), the Kungwini Amalgamated Workers Union (KAWU), and other affiliated unions briefed the media on 25 September 2019 at the Parktonian Hotel in Johannesburg. Employers are currently only offering a 1.1% wage increment.

Unions said the proposed increase would only mean an extra 23 cents more per hour for security guards. The Democratic Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union’s (DETAWU) general-secretary Vusi Ntshangase warned that security sectors were heading for a “mother of all battles” if their terms were not met.

Security guards ready to fight for what they want

“Each and every officer is ready to fight. And we think that if that is not changed anytime time soon by employers now, we are heading to a mother of all battles in the security sector.”

Vusi Ntshangase, DETAWU general-secretary

Robert Dude from KAWU said the proposed wage increase was an insult to workers. He stated:

“It is not our intention to say we want to go to strike, but we call on the employers let them come with a reasonable offer. 1.1% currently is an insult. Which will provoke the workers to take unnecessary action.”

Robert Dude, KAWU

Who the unions are who could lead the strike
Statement by SATAWU on impending security industry strike. Source: Twitter/SatawuMedia

The other unions fighting for the increase are: Abanqobi Workers Union, the Democratic Union of Security Workers (DUSWO), the National Security and Unqualified Workers Union (NASUWU), the Professional Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (PTAWU), the South African Amalgamated and Integrated Workers Union (SAA&IWU), and the South African National Security and Allied Workers’ Forum (SANSAWF).

“The negotiations collapsed after the unions rejected the employers’ insulting offer outright on 19 September. According to the industry protocol on negotiations, both parties will participate in a compulsory negotiation process which is set to take place next week on 7 and 2 October.”

Vusi Ntshangase, DETAWU general-secretary

Unions and employers to attend a CCMA negotiation

Media statement by security industry unions on possible strike action. Photo: Twitter/@SAA&IWU

On 1 and 2 October, the unions are expected to go to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to try and avoid the strike. At the moment, a Grade C security officer takes home R4377 while a Grade B earns R4891 or R5557.

Employers had four failed rounds of talks with the unions.