Workers at the BB Auto Body Rebuilds panel beating downed tools to voice their alleged unattended demands. Photo: Lizzy Bapela

Striking workers allege harassment and poor working conditions


Lizzy Bapela   l   Views: 100

Workers at the BB Auto Body Rebuilds penal beating, situated at the Bela-Bela’s Industrial side, have downed tools for several weeks now.

The workers told The BEAT that they were demanding their deserved increment of 7%, which was supposed to have been added from September 2016 and they have not received it to this date.

They also alleged that they are working under poor and unsatisfactory conditions and that their female colleagues are being harassed while on duty. 

The angry protestors said their boss, Santie Boshoff’s partner, André de Meyer allegedly harasses women employees and Boshoff turns a blind eye when they report the matter to her. 

The workers’ representative, Solomon Phala, said they engaged Boshoff several times about their concerns. He added that they even engaged their union, NUMSA, and she still refuses to meet with its representatives to come to an agreement. 

“Whenever we engage her with something that we are not satisfied with, she shows us the gate. She tells us that she will even hire foreigners to come and work there as that will be less costly as foreigners accept any amount of payment. As a result, we resorted to a strike, with hope that she will take our complaints into consideration and resolve them but it seems she does not care. She even called the police on us and accuse us of conducting an illegal strike. We decided to close the gate so that no customer enters the premises. She and her partner have caused disloyalty and divisions amongst the staff and fetch workers from the township to work behind others’ back, knowing that we are on strike and intended to be united,” said Phala.

The representative further said they have been on strike for weeks now and were told that they will not get paid for the days they spend expressing their complaints. He added that they will not stop striking until their demands are met.

Giving her side of the story, Boshoff told The BEAT that all the allegations levelled against her and De Meyer are not true. She said that if the workers were telling the truth, why did they not take further steps and open a case? She also said she and De Meyer were the ones who suffered the consequences of the strike and she even had to seek medical attention as she sustained injuries. 

“As part of our day-to-day working activities, I took out the sprayers and hose pipe and De Meyer and I got hurt when the workers pulled the pipe during their strike. They even damaged the sprayers when they were striking. I do not have anything to hide, and in fact, welcome the paper to come again and this time, inspect the whole area to see if there is anything wrong. The reporter can ask anything and I am available to answer. I have opened criminal and labour cases against the workers,” said Boshoff.

14 months ago       20 April 2017