Industrial unrest among black workers in the South African city of Port Elizabeth spread on Friday (23 November) when more than a hundred workers went on strike at a paper mill.
Industrial unrest among black workers in the South African city of Port Elizabeth spread on Friday (23 November) when more than a hundred workers went on strike at a paper mill. The General Tyre and Rubber Company and the Ford Motor Company have both fired hundreds of black workers in the past week after a series of walk-outs to demand better pay and working conditions.
SYNOPSIS: Workers at Port Elizabeth's United States associated Ford Motor Company and the General Tyre and Rubber Company have demanded reforms after claiming unequal treatment of the plants white and black workers. Managing Director Brian Pitt said the dispute had cost the Ford Motor Company about one thousand cars in lost production.
On Wednesday (21 November) the Company fired seven hundred black workers after they staged their fourth walk-out in three weeks.
Dismissed workers gathered at the plant to collect their pay slips and scheduled a mass meeting for later in the day. They threatened to take legal action after learning they would not be paid bonuses they claim are owed to them.
Executives of the companies say they will only re-employ those applicants among the dismissed workers that they find suitable. But a mass meeting of workers from both the companies resolved not to seek re-employment at either plant.
Three vanloads of riot police have been stationed outside the Ford plant. The troubles were instigated by mounting racial disharmony, though Ford has prided itself on being in the forefront of non-discriminatory industrial relations at it's Port Elizabeth plant.
The immediate cause of the troubles was a meeting a week ago by white workers who claimed blacks were abusing integrated facilities and were adopting threatening attitudes towards white supervisors. What has followed is a black backlash and claims by black workers of racist attitudes by the supervisors.