Workers fight poverty pay
International solidarity protests organised
Workers are fighting against the super-exploitation of the multinational construction company RMD KwikForm.
On 23 August workers at RMD’s Nelspruit and Centurion branches began strike action. The workers are members of the GIWUSA union. Workers are demanding a 12% pay rise and a guaranteed ‘13th cheque’ Christmas bonus but the bosses are only willing to offer 3%.
RMD pays its workers poverty wages of R3,000 per month. Some workers have been with the company for more than ten years. Most of that time workers were employed via a labour broker. In an important victory for the workers they recently won permanent jobs with RMD. But the same poverty wages have continued. To rub salt in the wounds of the workers their old labour broker has been supplying strike-breakers to help RMD management defeat the strike!
The South African management are claiming that the pathetic 3% they have offered workers is part of an “international mandate” from their “shareholders in the UK”. This neo-colonial corporate arrangement completely disregards local conditions. For example, inflation in South Africa is 6% (i.e. prices for food, fuel and other necessaries are rising by 6%). For that reason, if the workers accept 3% they are actually accepting a pay cut. Also, the company ignores that the ‘13th cheque’ is common practice in South Africa.
RMD is a ruthless multinational with an HQ in the UK. It has operations in many countries around the world. On their website they boast about the world famous construction projects they have been involved in, including the multi multi billion $ Crossrail project in London, UK. There is absolutely no doubt that this is a highly profitable and super-rich company. But if only everyone knew the truth – that the company is built on neo-colonial exploitation!
The Workers and Socialist Party has mobilised its sister-party in the UK (the Socialist Party) to help expose this company. Both WASP and the Socialist Party are affiliates of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI).
Our comrades in the UK have organised protests at RMD’s Barking, London offices on 24 August. They submitted letters of protest from the local community and local trade unions.
On 25 August a delegation did the same at RMD’s branch in Cardiff, UK.
Whatever the outcome of the immediate strike, the workers are ready for the long battle to win a living wage and good terms and conditions. GIWUSA is planning an organising drive at the other branches of RMD not currently in the union and WASP is working with GIWUSA to organise the workplaces in the areas around RMD branches. We know the bosses are organising together; workers in all companies must do the same. The struggle continues!