Private security industry threatens to leave schools, shops and properties unguarded in massive strike

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The security industry is threatening to strike, leaving private and public infrastructure unguarded if its wage demands are not met.

The industry is demanding that employers provide a national monthly wage increase of R900 (approximately 16%) each year for the next three years. The employers offered a 3.5% raise.

Twenty-three unions representing approximately 500,000 members are demanding the increase.

Negotiations began in April; however, no deal was reached. The last time the industry saw a pay rise was in 2019, when unions secured an 8.5% hike.

“Private security guards will not be seen in any building, shop, school or property,” said Khumbulani Moyo, spokesperson for private security sector unions.

Talk to CapeTalkPhilemon Bhembe, national coordinator of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), said the unions want to continue to receive a monthly salary and the industry is not moving to an hourly rate – as the employers are proposing.

He added that the requested adjustment is intended to help employees cope with the rising cost of living.

Bhembe said the industry had been declared an essential service during the Covid-19 period, putting their lives on the line and seeing no increase in pay. Unions are also calling for leave for family responsibilities to be extended from five to seven days.

He added that it is “only fair” and that there is enough money in the sector to make the adjustment. If achieved, the new salary increase will take effect in March 2023, Bhembe said.

According to Bhembe, unions are waiting for the CCMA to release a consultation date, and they expect employers to come to the table with a better offer. If negotiations remain deadlocked, the CCMA can issue a certificate allowing unions to carry out a protected strike.

If the sector takes to the streets, private and public infrastructure will be left unchecked as an industry twice the size of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) shut down operations .


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