In South Africa, a strike by black meat workers is spreading, and seems likely to develop into a full-scale confrontation over union recognition.
GV Abattoir sign in Cape Town.
SV Cattle in truck entering abattoir. (2 SHOTS)
GV & PAN Striking black workers and factory compound (2 SHOTS)
SV Two workers and union representatives, one speaking in English.
GV Workers leaving meeting after being locked-out (2 SHOTS)
GV White union organiser speaking to workers in English.
GV Black workers leaving meeting, and down street. (3 SHOTS)
UNION REPRESENTATIVE: "Because this union does not like the separate development which is going on in South Africa. This is a kind of fighting of apartheid, by not going for registration."
WHITE UNION ORGANISER:"Coloured people and African People are saying to their bosses, they're saying to the government, they're saying to everybody: 'We want the right to be able to speak for ourselves. And we want the right to be able to be represented ourselves in all our dealings.' The students are asking for that; the workers are asking for that. And these bosses know that what they're doing is standing against all the black people of this country by doing what they are doing."
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Background: In South Africa, a strike by black meat workers is spreading, and seems likely to develop into a full-scale confrontation over union recognition. Seventy-five black employees at the Cape Town firm originally went on Strike two weeks ago, when management refused to recognise their workers' committee. Now, more than seven hundred and fifty meat industry employees have stopped work in support.
SYNOPSIS: The management of the Table Bay Cold Storage Company won't negotiate with the non-racial workers' committee because their union isn't officially recognised. The union, the Western Province General Workers Union, isn't prepared to register under the Industrial Conciliation Act, because the Act requires division of union membership on racial lines. The original strikers have now been locked out by their management who've used the police to enforce their action. Union leaders see the question of workers' committees as fundamental to their members rights, and have accused the management of trying to force confrontation. One of them explained:
Despite their vulnerability as unskilled contract labour, the meatworkers have remained solidly behind the strike, urged on by white union organisers.
The outcome of the strike will effect black workers throughout the country. Some employers have been willing to deal with unregistered unions. But others seem determined to resist. The union is equally determined to fight black, and has called for a boycott of meat products until the dispute is settled.