The seven-week strike by SACCAWU at South African hotel chain Sun International has ended with a negotiated settlement which brings important gains for union members.
SACCAWU’s January 25 official release (which warmly thanked the workers’ international supporters for their solidarity during the long and bitter conflict) on the settlement describes the strike as “marked by an extreme intransigence on the side of the company, coupled with violence from the SAPS and private security on the picket-line, including racist and sexist insults, extreme provocations, assaults as well as arrests of numerous strikers, a full-time shop steward and a union official.
“Despite all these provocations, workers remained united and determined, continuing their strike over the festive season throughout January as schools reopened. Despite all these pressures on working class families, the strikers remained united.”
The settlement contains the following gains:
• Extension of the bargaining unit to a range of supervisory categories previously excluded f
• An across the board increase of 8.75% effective from 1 July 2009
• Back pay to workers from July 2009 will be paid to workers not later than 31st January 2010
• An increase of CPI + 1.75% or 7.75% whichever works out greater will come into effect from July 2010
• Shift allowances will be increased to R3.00 per hour from 1st July 2009
• Educational assistance shall increase from R5 000 to R8 000
The issues of averaging of hours of work and scheduling of permanent staff and other unresolved matters will be explored in future interactions with the Company, with the Union reserving its right to pursue the legal route.