This is the full text of the statement issued by SACCAWU today:
After a brave and bruising strike by more than 4 500 workers lasting for seven weeks since 4 December 2009, SACCAWU and Sun International reached an agreement that effectively saw the end of the strike. Workers are expected to return from 26 January 2010 and by the latest 28 January 2010.
This strike was marked by an extreme intransigence on the side of the company, coupled with violence from the SAPS and private security on the picket-line, including racist and sexist insults, extreme provocations, assaults as well as arrests of numerous strikers, a full-time shop steward and a union official.
Despite all these provocations, workers remained united and determined, continuing their strike over the festive season throughout January as schools reopened. Despite all these pressures on working class families, the strikers remained united. This unity of the striking workers was further boosted by the solidarity from COSATU, especially by the COSATU North West Province and Moses Kotane Local. The morale of the striking workers was further boosted by the international solidarity and the Labour Start campaign that saw thousands of letters from unionists and the public in general from all over the world, sent to the management of Sun International. SACCAWU and the striking workers wish to acknowledge and express our gratitude for the solidarity, on the picket-line, in the communities and internationally, that played an important role in keeping the unity and building the morale of striking workers throughout the strike.
While the striking workers did not see all their demands met, the significance of the victory should not be underestimated. Because of the drawn out nature of the dispute, and the since we once again were on the eve wage negotiations, the Union felt it was a strategic necessity to enter into a two-year agreement, which was accepted by both parties.
The agreement reached covers the following:
• Extension of the bargaining unit to a range of supervisory categories previously excluded from the bargaining unit, while others will be included into the bargaining unit for the purposes of accessing benefits and housekeeping supervisors will also benefit from the 2009/2010 wage increases.
• The current minimum will increase from R66 479.00 to R72 295.91 from July 2009
• An across the board increase of 8.75% effective from 1 July 2009
• Back pay to workers from July 2009 will be paid to workers not later than 31st January 2010
• An increase of CPI + 1.75% or 7.75% whichever works out greater will come into effect from July 2010
• Shift allowances will be increased to R3.00 per hour from 1st July 2009
• Home ownership subsidy scheme limit shall be increased from R100 000 to R135 000
• Employees with 2 – 5 years service shall qualify for a 30% subsidy. Those with less that 5 years service were not qualifying previously.
• Educational assistance shall increase from R5 000 to R8 000
The issues of averaging of hours of work and scheduling of permanent staff and other unresolved matters will be explored in future interactions with the Company, with the Union reserving its right to pursue the legal route.