Numsa members accused of assault

Striking workers allegedly attacked a man they thought to be a non-striking petrol attendant.

FILE: Striking NUMSA members march in Randburg on Monday 9 September, they are seeking a double digit increase in wages. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG - Striking workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) allegedly assaulted a member of the public at a Hatfield filling station in Pretoria on Tuesday.

This as the union vows to intensify its ongoing nationwide strike in the petrol and automotive sectors.

The group apparently attacked the person believing they were a non-striking petrol attendant.

The mob is believed to be moving between garages in the area where they are intimidating non-striking staff and shutting down operations.

While Numsa maintains its strike is peaceful and that their members do not intimidate non-striking employees, the situation appears very different on the ground.

Brooklyn police station Spokesperson Colette Weilbach says violence erupted when a group of striking petrol attendants converged on the Sasol garage in Duncan Street at midday.

"There was an innocent 21-year-old bystander who the group mistook as a petrol attendant. The group then started to assault him. The police intervened and the situation was brought under control."

Weilbach says the strikers dispersed.

Police are monitoring the area.

STRIKE INTENSIFIES

Numsa has accused employers of provoking striking workers by preventing them from picketing in certain areas.

The union is now planning to intensify its strike, which is now in its ninth day.

More marches are planned for the rest of the week.

Wage negotiations with the employer collapsed on Monday night.

Numsa National Treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo says allegations of intimidation by its workers are being investigated internally, but slammed employers for provoking them.

"In some of the areas where you are supposed to have the picketing groups, they are not allowing our members to picket freely. That's provocation," he claimed.

Maqungo accused the employer of not taking demands seriously.

Numsa is negotiating on behalf of all workers in this sector and vowed to continue with the strike until bosses give workers a double-digit pay increase.