Kevin's Blog

Sorry about the last couple of days. I had a malfunction followed by an electric storm that knocked out the power supply and the wi-fi - and it's supposed to be summer here!
Saccawu has been very busy trying to resolve their dispute with Sun International and are presently consulting with their members while the management's negotiating team reports back to their Board.
In the meantime I have been getting a comprehensive insight into the hotel sector over here and guess what? Their problems are almost exactly the same as ours with the added challenge of their emergence from the racial legacy of apartheid. Room cleaners experience the same aches and pains as our members and most of them regularly take painkillers. Very few are employed directly by the hotels and are paid by the room which means they often work unpaid overtime to meet their targets. As experienced workers on union negotiated terms and conditions retire their jobs are replaced by 2/3 "scheduled" workers which means part time workers on insecure pay and hours at the beck and call of the hotel operators. Of course where the workers are in the union and have strong workplace organisation this does'nt happen. The most exploited are the migrant workers who come from all over Africa and are resisting joining the union because they fear the responses of their bosses. However Saccawu have developed an organising strategy for the sector and are implementing it with confidence. As always their struggle is our struggle is their struggle. The same global employers exploiting vulnerable workers and our response has to be one that unites workers in every country in a common endeavour for social and economic justice. I am on the way to Sydney now to find out how our brothers and sisters in LHMU are getting on. I'll get back to you as soon as technology and time zones allow and I will tell you about an inspirational shop steward I met here in Joburg.
Keep Warm!