In South Africa, dock workers at the Cape town harbour walked off their jobs last week, after months of unsuccessful attempts to get management to allow them to form their own racially-unsegregated organisation.
GV EXTERIOR: Ship moored at quayside in Cape Town
SV: Flag at stern of ship PAN TO gangway
GV: Deserted dockside
GV: Black workers coming out of building after General Workers Union meeting and chanting (2 shots)
GV AND SV: More workers emerge and move across open area some waving fists (2 shots)
CU: Union committee member interviewed in English
UNION REPRESENTATIVE:" The strikes were not our intention. It's just we wanted to get them to come and see us, because it took nine months to get them to speak to us. To get Mr. Field of come and speak to us about our troubles -- so that we could put our troubles to him. Because there a lot of troubles that we must solve."
REPORTER:"Are they still trying to divide the black workers and the coloured workers?"
UNION REPRESENTATIVE:"Oh, yes, they did."
REPORTER: "Are you in favour of apartheid in a union?"
UNION REPRESENTATIVE:"No, way."
REPORTER:"Why is that?"
UNION REPRESENTATIVE:"We work together."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In South Africa, dock workers at the Cape town harbour walked off their jobs last week, after months of unsuccessful attempts to get management to allow them to form their own racially-unsegregated organisation. The workers want a single committee, or union, to represent the interests of both coloured and black workers. New South african labour laws favour the separation of the two racial groups into so-called 'parallel' unions. The dockers returned to work after a day when they managers promised to the negotiate with the workers' own elected committee, which, the worker's say, will be presented in a list which does not mention colour.
SYNOPSIS: The Cape Town harbour almost came to a standstill on Tuesday (11 December for the first time since 1974. At that time, European dock workers refused to unloaded South African ships in sympathy with black South African dockers.
Though black workers in South Africa now have been stronger prospects that even before the union protection, the Black dockers oppose the representation of workers on a racial basis. Some of the strikers belong to the Independent and unregistered General Workers Union (GWU). The Stevedore Association, representing the manager has steadfastly refused to negotiate with the GWU because it is not registered.
The Trade Union Council of South Africa (TUSCA) invited workers through pamphlets distributed by the managers to discuss joining a registered union. But workers representatives insisted they will not join the existing registered trade union movement, which does not oppose apartheid.