NHLANGANO – Over 2 000 employees of Zheng Yong yesterday downed their tools to engage on a strike over ‘cut’ Christmas bonus payments.
Though the boycott started last week Friday after lunch, armed police had to be called to the company yesterday to maintain peace as workers engaged in a riot. The strike started from as early as 8am after the company management only offered to pay half the bonus the workers are entitled to every year.
It was ascertained that the management offered to pay for three and a half days instead of six days.
This was, however, not received well by the workers who then complained that since 2007, they had agreed to pay six days’ bonus.
“It’s within our rights that the company pay us six days’ bonus. More so, this has been an arrangement that began in 2007. How can the company decide to cut the bonus yet it agreed to pay? In fact, it cannot take back this money because it belongs to us,” argued Dumisane Bhembe, a shop steward.
Bhembe said cutting the bonus would expose some of the employees to financial crisis as they have already budgeted for the money.
“We will not allow the company to downplay us,” he continued.
Human Resource Manager, Moses Msibi said; “We have tried to engage negotiations between the employer and the employees but the workers have refused to accept the three-day bonus. Since we are at a loss due to the strike, the company will apply the ‘no work no pay’ rule if the strike continues.”
When the Times team arrived at the company at around 4pm, Msibi was found addressing the thousands workers. He also told them of the ‘no work no pay’ rule.
They, however, chanted slogans and told him they were prepared to continue with the strike.
Meanwhile, armed officers from OSSU had been deployed around the company’s premises and some workers were heard complaining that their bags had been locked inside the company.