Communication Workers Union (CWU) today (16th of September 2021) concludes 12 months while being at loggerheads with the ruthless and racist employer MUSTEK. On the 16th of September 2020, the union embarked on strike action against MUSTEK after a long dispute over the salary and substantive issues. The company refused to bargain indicating that it is only the board that can determine salary increases and other bargaining matters. The company showed a total disregard to workers well-being and absolute anti-union semantics. On the eve of the strike action, the company dismissed shop stewards on allegations of social distancing (COVID 19 – LOCKDOWN regulations) in their quest to demobilise workers. Furthermore, the company attempted to cut the union’s subscription and proposed for workers salary cuts citing the company’s financial difficulties during the lockdown. They were however embarrassed when it was proven that they were amongst the beneficiaries of the lockdown as many institutions resolved on virtual meetings and therefore products such as laptops were high on demand.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange declared that the company’s revenue climbed up to 9% scoring a whopping R6.4-billion from R5.86 billion the year before. To paint the picture clearly, the majority of the factory level workers who have between 10 to 15 years of service, earn a mere R6 500 on average yet the Group CEO David Kan takes home R8,018,000 per annum. This demonstrates shameless greed. The company is clearly having most black people at the bottom of the food chain in terms of remuneration. During the 8 months-long strike, the company used all tricks in the book to discontinue the strike, including initiating wrongful arrests of workers whom most are acquitted by the court of law. They further continue to demonstrate their disregard to a right of a worker to strike and protest as they have charged and suspended all workers on strike, with a shocking number of 53 already having been dismissed. This includes making workers choose between being charged or resigning from the company. It is worth mentioning that at first, all workers were forced to resign from the union.
The company continues to enjoy lucrative tenders with the government including but not limited to the SAPS. This matter was reported to the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies under Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams and their interventions fell on deaf ears. The union had a number of demonstrations at the Department of Higher Education to express its disapproval of MUSTEK getting deals that enrich a company that undermines the laws of this country. As we are moving back to level 2, Communication Workers Union intends to resume its demonstration outside MUSTEK buildings.
Issued by the office of the General Secretary CWU
CWU General Secretary | Aubrey Tshabalala |Cell: 061 481 1080