Boardwalk workers in protest

General workers of the Sun Board Casino and Entertainment World partook in a protest along the Port Elizabeth beachfront on Thursday. The workers, as members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union marched from Kings Beach to the entrance of the Boardwalk where they handed over a memorandum.
General workers of the Sun Board Casino and Entertainment World partook in a protest along the Port Elizabeth beachfront on Thursday. The workers, as members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union marched from Kings Beach to the entrance of the Boardwalk where they handed over a memorandum.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

General workers of the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World took to the Port Elizabeth beachfront on Thursday as part of a five-day protest to be held over the Easter weekend.

The workers of the Sun International entity, as members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) demanded that current bargaining units (units that negotiate wages on behalf of employees) be extended to include staff who are employed part-time, as well as the conversion of all part-time positions to full-time positions.

The memorandum with the listed demands was presented to Boardwalk general manager Mike van Vuuren.

Full-time shop steward at Sun International, Loyiso Thomas, who was one of the strike organisers, said should the part-time workers be made permanent that would mean such general workers would go from working a minimum of 120 hours per month to a standard rate of 187 hours a month.

Currently, permanent full-time employees have to work 187 hours per month at the complex.

They are paid monthly and are entitled to all benefits applicable to their positions.

Permanent part-time employees are guaranteed a minimum of 120 hours per month and any hours worked in excess of those hours are dependent on business levels.

“You cannot expect us to earn R2,800 a month. Transport alone costs people R1,000.

“The minimum wage means that people are supposed to earn at least R3,500.

“We are making managers rich, while our people are struggling,” Thomas said during the march from Kings Beach to the Boardwalk entrance in Second Avenue, Summerstrand.

Van Vuuren, upon accepting the memorandum presented by Saccawu president Mike Tau, said he would ensure it was forwarded to the Sun Group’s human resources department for central negotiation purposes.

“The matters raised here are not unit-specific and apply to the whole group and will be handled at a central level,” he said.

Sun International CEO Anthony Leeming said: “We believe that these demands are unreasonable given the business requirements, tough economic environment and challenging operating conditions.”

The strike was scheduled to take place from 5am on Thursday April 18 to Monday April 22 and would include picketing outside some of Sun International’s properties, as well as action in terms of the Gatherings Act.

“Contingency plans are in place at all Sun International properties to ensure guests are inconvenienced as little as possible,” the Sun International Group said.

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