Members of the unregistered General Workers Union held emergency meetings in all South Africa's major ports on September 4 to discuss the recent dismissal of more than 400 dockworkers.
AV & LV Port Elizabeth docks (3 shots)
GVS & PAN Workers outside Galvindale Community Hall (5 shots)
CU Tee-shirt with General Workers Union design PULL BACK SV Worker waiting outside
GVS Meeting in progress inside hall (4 shots)
GVS Workers singing and waving fists inside hall (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Members of the unregistered General Workers Union held emergency meetings in all South Africa's major ports on September 4 to discuss the recent dismissal of more than 400 dockworkers. The majority of the Port Elizabeth workers sacked on September 1 were members of the GWU. They had been on a go-slow since August 30 in protest against their employers, the South African Transport Service (SATS), 11-month-long refusal of recognise the union. More than 1,000 railway and dockworkers attended the Port Elizabeth meeting held at Galvindale Community Hall. Among them were many of the dismissed workers who refused to collect their final pay after eyewitnesses reports that their colleagues had been forcibly taken out of the city to nearby black townships. At the meeting it was decided that further action would be postponed until the following week. In the meantime GWU members working in the private sector were instructed to put pressure on their employers to intervene on behalf of the sacked men. The International Transport Workers Federation has expressed its support for the GWU action and has sent a telegram to South Africa's Minister of Transport condemning the dismissals.