Danish nurses continue one-hour wildcat pay strikes; Sunday stoppages continue at ScotRail as rail workers ballot over pay; Iranian sugar plant workers at the Haft Tappeh plant begin indefinite pay strike; Sebanye-Stillwater gold miners in South Africa threaten to join 155,000 striking metalworkers for pay rise; Nigerian health unions sell out resident doctors’ strike and other health workers proposed strike

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

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Danish nurses continue one-hour wildcat strikes over pay and understaffing

Nurses in Denmark are continuing to join one-hour wildcat strikes, defying the orders of the Danish Nurses’ Council (DSR) union and the imposition of fines by the national Labour Court. The strikes followed the shutdown of the national nurses’ strike in August.

On Tuesday morning, around 75 nurses at Amager Hospital in Copenhagen walked out to join hundreds of nurses across the country, according to the Folketidende. Jydske Vestkysten reported nurses at Grindsted Hospital joined the movement on Thursday. Over the past weeks, hundreds of nurses walked out at the Rigshospitalet, Herlev Hospital, Aalborg University Hospital and Hvidovre Hospital.

The Folketidende quotes nurses denouncing working conditions, with some nurses reportedly being forced to work three weekends in a row. Conditions for nurses have made recruitment difficult, leading to a large backlog of operations. The government suggested increasing the budget for overtime payments, but one nurse told DR it was “completely insane that the government thinks it can stop our strike first, and now expects us to come out and spend our meagre free time taking extra shifts.”

The 6,000 nurses walked out for ten weeks over pay, understaffing and workload, but the government intervened on August 28 to impose a pay deal, which was rejected twice by DSR members. The nurses then began wildcat action, with support from workers in Denmark and internationally.

Nurses continue to join the stoppages, despite the imposition of a fine of 86 kroner per hour by the Labour Court and the orders of the DSR union. DSR chairperson Grete Christensen told Ritzau that she was doing everything she could to end the strikes saying, “We have … strongly urged our members to work as normal, and we will continue to do so.” Nurses at Rigshospitalet set up a fundraiser to help pay the fines, which received donations from supporters internationally.

One of the nurses active in the strike at Rigshospitalet, Luca Pristed, reported on his Facebook page that he was being monitored, having been contacted by a lawyer from the DSR with “evidence” of his posting in nurses’ Facebook groups. He said the Labour Court was threatening to apply a large fine to the DSR for the wildcat strikes, a reason the DSR cited to justify its efforts to shut down the walkouts.

French national strike against unemployment, pension reforms and low wages

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of workers in France took part in a national strike against planned reforms to unemployment insurance and pensions, and to denounce low wages.

The strike and over 200 protest marches were organised by unions and youth organisations, according to Ouest France, with 25,000 demonstrators in Paris. The government estimated 85,400 participants nationwide, while the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) said that 160,000 took part.

Workers in public transport, education and other sectors took part, although the mobilisation attracted relatively few workers compared with the mass opposition of millions last year to planned pension reforms. Slogans, and statements given to the media, opposed the revival of these reforms, which would increase the retirement age and lead to potential cuts in pension payments.

Midwives in France hold series of strikes against conditions and low pay

French midwives held a series of protests and strikes against poor working conditions and the lack of recognition of their profession in last year’s “Ségur” healthcare review.

Le Télégramme reports that on September 30, midwives demonstrated in front of Yves Le Foll hospital in Saint Brieuc to draw attention to the situation. Midwives at Yves Le Foll hospital began an indefinite strike on September 16, boycotting administrative work while continuing to care for patients.

In the town of Saint-Jean, near Toulouse, midwives began a walkout “without notice” on Sunday, according to 20 Minutes. They are also demanding recognition of their profession and a corresponding salary increase, and the hiring of more staff.

The French Democratic Confederation of Labour called for midwives in Brest to join a 24-hour strike on Thursday, according to Le Télégramme, and L’Opinion reports that on the same day members of the French National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians joined a one-day strike to support the national movement of midwives.

Strike of Lyon bus and tram drivers in France goes ahead despite backroom union-management deal

On September 30, French bus and tram drivers as well as technicians in the Lyon Communal Transport (TCL) network held a one-day strike. This followed a wave of violence against transport workers, and demanded that Keolis, which run the network, protect its employees and pay better wages. A statement from the strikers quoted in Lyon Mag said, “We no longer want to risk our lives for poor pay.”

TCL drivers held numerous strikes following an incident on September 1, when a gun was fired at a bus returning to the depot. There has been increasing violence towards drivers recently. A bus driver was hospitalised last week after an object was thrown through the windshield, and another was assaulted by a passenger this week.

The September 30 strike went ahead despite an agreement signed by the CGT and Force Ouvrière (FO) unions with Keolis. While allowing the company to claim that this deal “puts an end to the conflict,” according to Le Progrès neither the CGT nor FO represented any of the striking workers. The CFDT and National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions denounced this deal, and said that the strike notice remained in place until December 31.

Spanish unions agree deal with Tubacex, ending long-running strike over job cuts

On Tuesday, 340 of the 680 steelworkers at Tubacex in the Basque Country, Spain, returned to work after 236 days on strike, Europa Press reported. The workers began their strike in February after the steel tube manufacturer announced plans to cut 129 jobs.

Last week, the unions in the strike committee signed a deal with the company, written by the Department of Labour, cancelling all compulsory redundancies, but making major concessions on pay and conditions, as well as agreeing to a number of “voluntary” redundancies and early retirements.

The new collective agreement lasts until 2025, and contains a pay freeze, a decrease in pension contributions by the company, and an extension of weekly working hours to 40. The company celebrated the concessions as a great victory, telling Europa Press they had “gain[ed] the necessary competitiveness” for their future financial plans. The chairman for the strike committee completely dismisses the cuts to pay and conditions, saying the deal contains “no buts,” as it did not cross the “red line” of forced job cuts.

Tubacex workers waged a militant struggle, leading processions of workers during the strike and clashing with police on the picket line. The unions were only able to sell the company’s deal after a long and exhausting conflict, and even then members of the LAB and STAT unions voted against the agreement, and only 67 percent of members of the largest unions, the Workers' Commissions, voted in favour.

Spanish train drivers begin eight-day strike

On September 30, train drivers at Renfe, the Spanish state-owned rail company, began the first of eight days of strike action spread over three weeks.

According to The Local, the Train Engine Drivers and Workers Union (SEMAF) and the Railway Union accused Renfe of not hiring enough staff and says the company used the pandemic as an excuse to cut 700 posts.

Renfe threatened disciplinary action against a number of drivers for not fulfilling “minimum service” requirements, as the number of services running during the strike fell below the level the unions are expected to guarantee. SEMAF blamed the company itself for the cancellations, as it had not clearly notified the drivers who were banned from participating in the strike.

Portuguese teachers strike to improve career progression, workload and recruitment

On Monday, dozens of schools closed in Portugal as teachers joined a national strike to demand that issues including career progression be resolved. The Independent Union of Teachers and Educators (SIPE) estimated as many as 50 percent of all Portuguese teachers walked out for the day, reported Observador.

SIPE denounced “two years of silence” on a number of other issues, including competition between teachers, trouble recruiting young people into teaching, and excessive workloads.

Turkish metalworkers end 281-day strike at Baldur Suspension

Last week, Turkish metalworkers at the Kocaeli plant run by Spanish-owned company Baldur Suspension ended their 281-day strike, which followed the firing of a number of members of the Birleşik Metal-İş union.

According to Gazete Manifesto, after Baldur workers joined Birleşik Metal-İş, the company attempted to force them to join the Türk Metal union instead and fired five workers who refused. During the strike a large number of other workers were also fired.

The strike ended after Baldur agreed to give an enhanced severance payment to the dismissed workers, but according to Birleşik Metal-İş did not sign a collective bargaining agreement nor allow the union to organise in the workplace.

Indefinite strike begins at the English School in Nicosia

On Thursday, teachers and other staff at the English School in Nicosia, Cyprus, began an indefinite strike after the school announced it would fire the president of their union.

The school accused the president of the English School Staff Organisation (ESSA) of violating data protection in sending an email to parents, and according to Dialogos an “investigative committee” consisting of the school’s principal and deputy principals recommended that she be fired.

ESSA members voted to begin an indefinite strike following a partial strike on October 4, and also passed a motion of no-confidence in the school’s management team. An ESSA announcement accused the school of attempting to “intimidate and silence” trade unionists, and demanded the reinstatement of its president.

Oil refinery workers in Ellesmere Port, UK vote to strike over pay and pension issues

Around 400 UK workers at the Stanlow refinery, Ellesmere Port, owned by the Indian multinational Essar Oil UK, voted by a 98 percent majority to strike over pay and pensions.

The Unite union members’ three issues are Essar’s failure to honour a 2019 pay agreement, its failure to pay a bonus for the last two years and its proposals to close the final salary pension scheme. Unite did not announce any strike dates, but said the company has agreed to talks over the issues. The union statement announcing the vote noted the company “has agreed to delay the proposed closure of the pension scheme.”

The Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port supplies about a sixth of Britain’s road fuel. It is one of the UK’s six oil refineries, which collectively supply about 85 percent of UK fuel demand.

Run by two billionaire brothers, Ruia and Ravi Shashi, Essar Oil UK is pleading poverty after taking advantage of one of the Johnson government’s big business pandemic bailout measures. Under the Value Added Tax deferral scheme they were able to benefit to the tune of £356 million.

Workers at ScotRail, Scotland to ballot over pay as Sunday stoppages over overtime rates continue

Around 2,000 rail workers at ScotRail, Scotland are to ballot over pay. The pay dispute is concurrent with ongoing Sunday stoppages at ScotRail over overtime rates.

The ballot result of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members will be announced before the climate change COP26 talks in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12. The expected result is a large majority in favour of strike action. The RMT will use the result as a bargaining chip, with the threat of travel disruption during the COP26 talks.

Several hundred train conductors and ticket examiners at ScotRail walked out again on Sunday, continuing one of the UK’s longest-running stoppages. The conductors’ strikes began in March, while ticket examiners walked out at the end of April. Ticket examiners will strike each Sunday from October 10 until October 31. They are demanding equal overtime pay with drivers.

The five-year struggle of rail workers against the introduction of Driver Operated Trains was betrayed by the RMT, which reached agreements with different train operators undermining the safety-critical role of conductors.

ScotRail engineers step up action over pay with planned strikes

Around 250 engineers responsible for maintaining and repairing trains on Scotland’s ScotRail system, who have been taking industrial action short of a strike over pay, will now hold several 24-hour stoppages.

The Unite union members voted by 78 percent on a near 69 percent turnout to strike. They took industrial action short of a strike from September 24. The dates for the 24-hour strikes are October 18, November 1, 10 and 12. The November walkouts will coincide with the COP26 climate change summit meeting in Glasgow. The action is expected to affect the operating of Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley railway stations.

Cereal engineers at Weetabix, UK factories continue strike over fire and rehire, reject union support for company offer

Around 80 engineers at the Weetabix plants in Kettering and Corby, England are continuing their action with a 48-hour walkout Tuesday against the threat of fire and rehire.

The Unite union members began their series of 48-hour stoppages on September 21. Further 48-hour strikes are due each Tuesday up until November 30.

The engineers oppose pay cuts and restructuring of their contracts that would roster them to work more days, with the loss of shift allowance. The changes mean the engineers losing up to £5,000 a year. The threat of dismissal hangs over those workers refusing to accept the changes.

The engineers were to strike at the end of June, followed by weekly 24-hour strikes throughout the summer. However, Unite suspended the strike to allow “meaningful talks.” This resulted in new proposals from Weetabix. However, Unite was unable to sell the new proposals to the workers who rejected them by an 82 percent majority, forcing Unite to launch the current round of stoppages.

Further strikes by lecturers at UK colleges over pay

Following strikes at 10 UK Further Education (FE) colleges last week, lecturers at six colleges took further stoppages this week.

Originally University and College Union (UCU) members at 15 FE colleges throughout England were to walk out. They voted by a near 90 percent majority to strike in July.

Pay for FE lecturers fell behind that of school teachers, so there is a £9,000 gap between them. Over the last decade, their pay fell by 30 percent in real terms.

Stoppages at the remaining nine colleges were suspended following offers or the promise of talks.

Further strikes by school teachers in Salford, England over management practices

Following a walkout last week by UK teachers at Co-op Academy Swinton secondary school in Salford, teachers were again on strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of planned action until Friday.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers members are opposing excessive working hours, shorter lunch breaks, the elimination of pastoral care time and management’s imposition of practices relating to performance management.

The school has seen a big rise in COVID-19 cases and pupils in every year group except Year 10 have been advised to take PCR tests, according to the Manchester Evening News. Pupils in those year groups are being asked to wear masks.

Refuse and cleaning staff at Brighton council, England begin walkouts over work conditions

On Tuesday, refuse and cleaning staff working for Green Party-controlled City of Brighton council in England began stoppages over the next two weeks in response to management unilaterally imposing changes to their rounds.

The GMB members voted by a 100 percent majority on a near 80 percent turnout to walk out. There is an ongoing dispute over management unilaterally intervening to remove drivers from long established routes. The workers interpret the changes as management imposing unofficial punishment or control of staff. Last minute talks between the council and GMB on Monday failed to resolve the issue.

Health workers in England reject Tory government pay offer

A consultative ballot of health staff in England rejected a three percent pay offer by a 90 percent majority.

Unite union members working for the National Health Service (NHS) in England indicated they would be prepared to take industrial action for an improved offer. Unite has around 100,000 members in the NHS in England. Unite put forward a £3,000 rise or 15 percent, whichever is the higher. With inflation at 4.8 percent, three percent represents a cut in real terms. According to Unite, health workers have seen a 19 percent fall in pay in real terms since 2010.

In response to the ballot, Unite said it would “be liaising with other health trade unions to coordinate pay campaign actions.” Unison and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members working in the health service also rejected the offer by overwhelming votes in consultative ballots.

Scottish nurses to take part in indicative ballot over pay

Nurses in Scotland are to take part in an indicative ballot to determine possible future industrial action over pay.

The RCN will ballot its members in Scotland between October 12 and November 8. Members will be asked what industrial action they are prepared to take over the four percent pay offer made by the Scottish government earlier in the year. For the first time in its history, the RCN lodged a formal trade dispute earlier this year over the offer.

The RCN is calling for a 12.5 percent rise. It warned that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and low pay is leading to nurses leaving the profession.

UK local government workers reject derisory pay offer

Local government staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted to reject a 1.5 percent pay offer in a consultative vote.

Around 400,000 Unison union members in local government and education rejected the employers’ offer by a 79 percent majority in an indicative ballot. Unison will now go ahead with a ballot for industrial action. The ballot is expected to begin in November.

London Royal Parks cleaners begin month-long strike

Cleaners at Just Ask Services in UK capital began a month-long strike on October 1, in a fight for parity with directly employed staff.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members work for contractor Just Ask Services, which provides facility management services in the Royal Parks. They began their strike with a rally at St James’s Park on October 1, attended by around 40 strikers and their supporters. They are demanding an occupational sick pay scheme in line with staff directly employed by the London Royal Parks.

They also want a job security agreement with no job cuts. They have already taken 16 days of stoppages in pursuit of their demands since July 31.

Strike by London College of Art staff over workloads and casualisation

London College of Art staff in UK capital were on strike Monday and Tuesday this week over casualisation and excessive workloads.

The UCU members voted by an 83 percent majority to hold the stoppages. An additional three-day strike is scheduled to begin October 12.

Tram workers in Greater Manchester, UK to strike over pay

Around 300 tram drivers and supervisors at the Metrolink tram system in Greater Manchester are to strike on Sunday over pay.

The Unite union members are employed by Keolis/Amey, who run the Metrolink light rail system. They voted by a 97 percent majority to reject an insulting pay offer of one percent over two years—0.3 percent backdated from January to March 2021, plus a 0.7 percent increase from April 2021 to April 2022.

Strikes were scheduled on the weekend of September 25-26 but were called off by Unite in favour of talks with Metrolink. Unite was forced to reinstate the strike action after drivers rejected a “greatly improved offer” endorsed by leader Sharon Graham—2.5 percent for 2021. Sunday’s strike, coinciding with a Marathon being staged in the city, will be followed by strikes on October 15, 18 and 24.

Bus drivers at two Stagecoach depots in northwest England to strike over pay

Around 250 UK bus drivers at Stagecoach based in Preston and Chorley will strike October 14 to 16.

The Unite union members, seeking a pay increase, will hold an additional 48-hour strike beginning October 24. Stagecoach, the largest UK coach and bus operator, with 24,000 workers, made a £58.4 million profit last financial year. Unite has 20 separate pay disputes across the Stagecoach network, but proposes no plan to integrate them.

Dates announced for strikes by UK driving test examiners over proposal to increase workload

UK driving test examiners employed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), who voted by over 90 percent on an 80 percent turnout to strike, will walk out on October 18 and 19.

The 1,100 PCS union members are opposed to management proposals to increase the number of driving tests they expect examiners to carry out, from seven to eight a day. The DVSA intends to impose the eight tests schedule from October 11.

A backlog of 400,000 tests built up over the last 18 months as a result of the pandemic.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff in Swansea, Wales to ballot over COVID-19 fears

Workers at the DVLA in Swansea, Wales are to ballot for further strike action over COVID-19 fears at the facility.

The PCS union members took a series of actions in a long-running dispute over COVID-19 fears, as workers were made to attend in person rather than working from home. There have been hundreds of positive cases among DVLA staff, including a fatality. The industrial action by DVLA staff is the only official action called by any trade union over COVID safety.

The ballot will run from October 12 to November 10.

Plastic bottle manufacturer workers in Wigan, England vote to walk-out over pay offer

Around 150 workers at the Alpha UK plastic bottle plant in Wigan voted to strike over pay.

The Unite union members rejected a two percent pay offer, as other staff were offered three. They are also demanding the company honour a 2020 pledge to increase pension contributions. They voted by a 90 percent majority on a more than 70 percent turnout to stop work. A series of 48-hour strikes is planned for October 21, and November 4 and 16.

The company makes plastic bottles and containers for firms such as Britvic, Coca Cola and Johnson & Johnson.

Leisure centre workers in Lewisham, London vote to strike over pay arrears

Leisure centre workers employed by social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Limited, Lewisham in the UK capital voted by a 94 percent majority to strike.

The Unite union members are challenging issues including wage arrears and workers being made redundant and not receiving correct redundancy pay. The union is also calling for workers returning from furlough to be given the same hours they had previously. While Unite announced the strike vote, it has not set any dates for stoppages.

University support staff in Dundee, Scotland to walk out over pension attack

Scottish support staff at the University of Dundee have voted to strike over an attack on pensions.

The Unite union members voted by a 78 percent majority on a 67 percent turnout to walk out on October 25. They are opposed to plans by the university to replace their current defined benefits scheme with an inferior defined contribution scheme. The replacement could mean some workers losing up to 50 percent of the value of their pensions.

Bus drivers in North Wales to ballot over pay

Drivers at Arriva bus company in North Wales will ballot over a pay dispute.

The ballot will begin on October 11 until October 26. Around 400 Unite members want a “decent” pay increase. Unite says any subsequent industrial action could begin in November. The drivers are based at depots across North Wales including Bangor, Llandudno and Wrexham.

Electric smart meter installers at UK energy firm ballot for industrial action over pay

UK electric smart meter installers at Paris-based energy company EDF are balloting over pay.

The ballot of around 280 Unite union members closes October 29. They install the smart meters in the London and southeast England. They rejected a grossly inadequate 1.5 percent pay offer, with inflation at 4.8 percent. Other issues include unilateral changes to collective agreements.

Cleaners at UK Facebook HQ to ballot over excessive workload

Cleaners at the Churchill Group contracted to clean the UK Facebook HQ building are to ballot later this month over excessive workloads. Any resulting industrial action will take place in December.

The Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU) members are calling for the contract to be taken in-house by Facebook. They are also protesting the dismissal of one of the cleaners, Guillermao Camacho, a CAIWU representative, sacked by Churchill after he organised a protest outside the Facebook HQ last month.

G4S cash delivery staff in UK to ballot over pay claim

UK workers employed by G4S who deliver cash are to ballot over a pay claim. The GMB members were offered a 2.5 percent pay offer. With inflation at 4.8 percent, the offer represents a cut in real terms.

The GMB demand is for a 7.5 percent pay rise. The ballot will begin on October 11, and run until November 1.

Staff at UK shoe distributor strike against fire and rehire threat

UK workers at the Clarks shoe manufacturer’s Westway distribution centre in Street, Somerset walked out on Monday over a fire and rehire threat.

The Community union members voted by an 88 percent majority to strike. They protested outside the distribution centre on Tuesday, receiving enthusiastic support from passing motorists. The firm was taken over in February by Lion Rock, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm. Lion Rock is seeking to cut overtime rates, reduce pay, cut sick pay, reduce parental leave and cut redundancy and call-out pay.

Workers anticipate a pay cut of over £1.50 an hour, and the abolition of 30-minute paid lunch breaks and 10-minute paid coffee breaks.

Staff at Clarks HQ, also in Street, are similarly affected by the fire and rehire threats, but are reported to have accepted the changes.

Scaffolders at Mitsubishi chemical plant in Britain pay ballot

Around 25 scaffolders working on Mitsubishi chemicals’ plant on Teesside, UK, are balloting for improved pay.

The Unite union members, employed by Altrad, are on a basic pay rate of £12.06 an hour. The National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) agreed rate for scaffolding workers is £17.45 an hour. The ballot closes October 11.

In a separate dispute, around 60 scaffolders employed by contractor Actavo at the British Steel plant in Scunthorpe, England began an all-out strike on Monday. The Unite union members have been in dispute over pay since 2019. They struck previously and are demanding payment in line with the NAECI rates. They are paid between 10 to 15 percent less than NAECI agreed rates.

Unite union calls off pay strike by delivery drivers at London, UK firm

A strike of lorry drivers working at the Thameside depot of Booker Retail Partners in the UK capital was called off by Unite.

The 40 drivers voted unanimously to strike. They demanded to be paid the £5 an hour temporary pay increase given to drivers at Booker’s Hemel Hempstead depot. Booker, which is owned by Tesco, delivers to around 1,500 convenience stores in the London and southeast England area.

Unite held further talks on September 21-23. Following these talks, Unite announced on October 1 that the strike due to begin Monday was suspended as Booker made an offer to be put to the drivers. No details of the offer were made public in the press release.

Delivery drivers at UK firm Yodel offered pay increase after strike vote

UK courier parcel and delivery firm Yodel is offering to pay its LGV drivers £16 an hour.

Around 250 GMB union members at the company voted by a 95 percent majority to strike over low pay. The offer will be put to the drivers this week.

Middle East

Iranian sugar plant workers at the Haft Tappeh plant begin new open-ended strike over pay arrears

Workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar cane processing plant in Shush, Iran began an open-ended strike on September 28.

Their demands include payment of wage arrears. They have not been paid for three months. Other demands include reinstatement of sacked workers and renewal of seasonal contracts. The striking workers held a rally in the city of Shush on Sunday.

The Haft Tappeh workers have been involved in a long-running dispute over several years, including strikes over pay and conditions at the plant, demanding the revoking of privatisation. The previous private owner of the sugarcane plant was dismissed following a corruption case. The current status of ownership and management of the plant remains in limbo. The lack of clarity is adding to the chaos and mismanagement at the site.

Protests by Iranian teachers

On Sunday, retired and current teachers demonstrated in cities across Iran including Abad, Khorram and Tehran. They were protesting against low wages, pensions and working conditions.

Strike by Syrian bank workers over pay and conditions

Workers at the Kerala-based CSB bank in Syria held a three-day strike beginning September 29. They were demanding higher pay and an end to anti-labour practices.

Opened-ended strike of Israeli kindergarten staff over pay and conditions

Israeli kindergarten workers began an open-ended walkout on Sunday.

They are demanding improved wages and working conditions. They marked the beginning of their campaign with a protest march in Tel Aviv on Sunday, which attracted thousands.


Miners in South Africa’s gold mining industry threaten strike for pay increase

Miners at South African gold mines belonging to the Sebanye-Stillwater multinational mining company declared an official dispute with the employer under supervision of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), United Association of South Africa and Solidarity union members demand pay rises comparable with those given by other major South African gold mining operations, Harmony Gold and Gold Fields Limited. They say Sebanye-Stillwater’s financial results show it can easily afford to give similar increases.

In 2019, the AMCU sold out a five-month gold miners’ strike at Sibanye Stillwater Gold. It accepted a wage agreement, already signed off by the NUM and Solidarity, which it previously called a “slave labour deal.”

On Tuesday, South Africa’s 155,000 metalworkers walked out on indefinite strike over pay.

South African municipal workers in Cape Town walk out for pay rise

Municipal workers in Cape Town, South Africa went on strike Thursday over pay. The city administration applied for exemption from paying a 3.5 percent salary increase and one-off cash allowance previously agreed by the South African Local Government Association, which represents 257 municipalities nationally.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union members will also march to Parliament October 22 to protest budget cuts that disproportionately affect the poor.

Union sells out Nigerian resident doctors’ strike over pay arrears

Nigerian resident doctors were sent back to work by their union on October 6 after a nine-week strike, winning nothing but a paper agreement.

The strike by 320,000 resident doctors in Nigeria began on August 2, to protest the government’s failure to honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to end a previous strike over pay arrears in April.

In Abia state, the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) members are owed 19 months’ arrears, those in Imo and Ondo states seven and four months, following the introduction of a new payment system. The doctors also want immediate payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance and increased hazard allowance. The doctors have not received full salaries since the pandemic began.

NARD held a meeting of its National Executive Council on October 3. Those attending voted to end the strike, though claiming it was “suspended” for six weeks while the government acted on the MoU.

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA), representing other healthcare workers, suspended their threat of an indefinite strike for the third time on Tuesday.

They previously issued 15-day ultimatums September 2 and September 17, saying they would disrupt services unless withheld salary and COVID-19-related payments were released and salaries adjusted.

The unions say they will “wait for the outcome of the meeting with Federal Government on October 6 before issuing a fresh notice of fifteen days.”

Fuel tanker drivers in Malawi strike for wage increases

Tanker drivers in Malawi cities began a stoppage September 27, causing fuel shortages. Soldiers were deployed to supply gas stations.

The drivers want to pressure the government into giving business to local companies, and to ensure that employers comply with a previous minimum wage directive. They say they will not return to work until their demands are met.