JOHANNESBURG, November 25 – The strike at Whirlpool appliances manufacturing facilities is over, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Saturday.
Numsa could “confirm that the strike at Whirlpool appliances has come to an end”, Numsa acting spokesman Phakamile Hlubi said.
“At least 900 workers downed tools on the 6th of November to demand housing assistance. For 18 days workers sacrificed their wages to demand that the company provide them with housing support in order to improve their standard of living,” he said.
“The majority of our members earn too little to afford decent accommodation. They are forced to rent shelter in slums and informal settlements, which often don’t have water or electricity, or sanitation services. Therefore their demand for housing allowance is justifiable given the dire socio-economic conditions which they are faced with.”
Numsa met the management team at Whirlpool this week where the company proposed paying R235 per month housing assistance (security fee) to each employee, for the next 24 months. Furthermore, they were committed to negotiating the possibility of a third year of the housing assistance at a later stage.
“Our members accepted the proposal and the strike was called off. Some of our members returned to work on Friday and more are expected at work over the weekend,” Hlubi said.
The company also commended the union and its members for a “peaceful strike with no incidents of violence against other employees, members of the community, or disruptions to traffic”.
Numsa “salutes the workers at Whirlpool, and our members in particular, for the discipline and courage which they demonstrated during the strike”.
“For more than two weeks they gave up their hard-earned wages in order to fight for a better life for themselves and their families. They are champions of the working class,” Hlubi said.
– African News Agency (ANA)