Mdladlana commends bid to end construction strike

By Chris Bathembu

Pretoria - Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has commended the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) and National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) for their efforts to end the strike in the construction industry.

"It is very important for South Africans to understand that dialogue is the best method to resolve differences," said Minister Mdladlana in a statement.

The minister and the Local Organising Committee met with the union and Safcec on Thursday to resolve the strike which saw construction work at several 2010 FIFA World Cup stadia grind to a halt.

The 12-hour meeting on Thursday resulted in an agreement being reached between the employer body and the union, said the department.

According to the union, Safcec has now offered the striking workers an 11 percent wage increase. NUM and Safcec will meet again on Tuesday.

Speaking to BuaNews on Friday, NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union would take Safcec's new offer to its members.

"If they accept it we will then sign the agreement on Tuesday. But if they don't accept it will mean going back to the drawing board," said Mr Seshoka.

He said he could not predict if the workers would accept the new offer. "We cannot say what will happen because our members are not predictable, we have die-hards and those who are soft," he said.

On Thursday, Minister Mdladlana expressed hope that a solution would be reached to the dispute, which has affected progress not only on soccer stadia but also affecting work on the Gauteng freeway improvement projects and rapid rail network Gautrain.

- BuaNews