Numsa strike: Vandalism, intimidation continues

Police earlier fired rubber bullets at union members blocking the entrance to the Medupi power plant.

The Numsa strike was plagued by reports of vandalism. Picture: Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Business owners in Gauteng on Thursday said they've resorted to locking their staff members inside factories to protect them from striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members.

Reports of vandalism and intimidation continued to stream in this afternoon, with many claiming people were either forced to leave work or were held against their will inside factories.

One woman told Eyewitness News that striking workers poured acid inside their offices in Benoni on Gauteng's East Rand.

"They poured acid all over, and stole laptops and wallets. They [the striking workers] wrecked the place."

Another woman described chaotic scenes with men hiding under their desks.

"They smashed our gates and windows. We locked our staff upstairs in the office."

A chief executive officer of a company in Booysens said his staff were terrified.

"We agreed with our staff to give them 12 percent before the strike. We did try to speak to Numsa."

Striking Numsa members in Booysens tied up a dog to a tyre and burnt it.

SEIFSA CONDEMNS VIOLENCE

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) on Thursday urged National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega to intensify efforts to reign in unruly Numsa members.

The employer body condemned widespread reports of vandalism and intimidation on the third day of the nationwide strike.

Seifsa spokesperson Ollie Madlala said they're concerned about the consequences.

"We're concerned about the damages perpetrated by Numsa [members]. They are likely to exacerbate South Africa's current unemployment problem."

NUMSA REJECTS CLAIMS

Numsa described reports of widespread intimidation and vandalism by its members as a cheap ploy to undermine its struggle for a living wage.

The union said no amount of slanderous accusations by employers in the metals and automotive sectors will undermine its strike.

RUBBER BULLETS FIRED

Earlier on Thursday, Limpopo police fired rubber bullets at Numsa members blocking the entrance to the Medupi power plant.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Eskom earlier said it would apply the 'no work, no pay' principle if employees continued with their stay away.

The union staged a demonstration at the power station this morning in defiance of a Labour Court interdict preventing workers from downing tools at the parastatal.

More than 200,000 Numsa members went on strike this week, demanding a 12 percent salary hike across the board.

All pictures by EWN, iWitness and Twitter.

Video: Eskom workers demand better pay.