Security guards and cleaners marched to the Port Elizabeth City Hall yesterday, demanding higher salaries, better working conditions and the end of outsourcing.
The marchers work for various companies in the city but declined to name them.
The 100-strong group mostly wore EFF, ANC and DA clothing. A memorandum was handed to Eastern Cape Department of Labour official Unathi Hloyi.
Together with demanding improved salaries and better working conditions, the memorandum said the “exploitation and barbaric treatment of workers” must stop.
The protesters also want an immediate end to outsourcing of guards and cleaners.
March organiser Mbuyiselo Rwana said some female security guards had been sexually harassed by colleagues and action was never taken against the perpetrators.
He also urged the government to change employment policies to ensure those in the security and cleaning industries were entitled to benefits, such as housing allowances.
A security officer, who did not want to be named, said he had been working for the same company for four years but earned just R3 000 a month.
“What we get at the end of the day is peanuts,” he said.
“We work abnormal hours . . . sometimes under dangerous conditions yet get underpaid. We are oppressed in this industry.”
EFF member Mgcini Tswak, who took part in the march, said: “Outsourcing must fall and insourcing must rise. “Security guards and cleaners must be hired properly. We want them to be absorbed into the system and permanently employed.”
Hloyi, who received the memorandum, promised to get the relevant officials involved.
“Our responsibility is to accept the memorandum, scan it and forward it to the head office who will deal with the issues you have raised,” he said.
The group gave the Department of Labour 30 days to respond.