Failed negotiations with hotel and casino company Sun International led to strike action on Saturday by Saccawu members, the trade union said.
„We have still not entered into a full-blown strike and are still ready to settle this issue,“ said SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) spokesperson Ivan Molefe.
Only 2409 out of 4241 employees belonging to Saccawu were striking at ten of Sun International’s resorts countrywide. The group employed over 8000 workers. He did not say when the strike would intensify.
The union was asking for a ten percent wage increase, for union members who were ranked below departmental heads to be included in bargaining units and for increased pay on Sundays and public holidays.
It lashed out at Sun International’s drop to a 6.5 percent wage offer after the union turned down its initial eight percent increase.
„I think [Sun International’s] human resources manager [Joe Lukwago-Mugerwa] comes from a different kind of moral. He’s a Ugandan and his kind of oppression is different from that of our workers.“
Molefe accused Lukwago-Mugerwa of being „hard on the whole issue“.
Sun International said a contingency plan was in place.
„As one would expect, we have put in place a comprehensive and thorough contingency plan and operating standards will be maintained.
„All our casinos, hotels and resorts are open for business as normal and we do not anticipate services will be compromised,“ said Lukwago-Mugerwa.
Industrial action was anticipated at the Boardwalk, the Carousel, Carnival City, Fish River Sun, Flamingo, Morula, Meropa, Naledi, Sun City and the Wild Coast Sun.
The union was demanding a ten percent wage increase, which was double the inflation rate, Lukwago-Mugerwa said.
„We have 6.5 percent on the table which we believe, measured against other increases in the marketplace, CPIX, and other considerations, is a good one. This increase is from a high base when compared to other competitor companies in both the hospitality and gaming sectors.“
The union rejected the first offer of eight percent, which was linked to an acceptance on the scope of the bargaining unit, the hours of work issue, and a two-year deal. The union refused this offer, and Sun International reverted to its 6.5 percent offer.
Sun International said it would apply a „no work no pay“ principle.