GAUTENG - SAMWU is pleased that the Labour Court has handed down an interim interdict with immediate effect against Ekurhuleni Municipality, City Manager Patrick Flusk and four others, and the Metro Police.
The interdict prohibits the municipality and metro police from shooting at SAMWU strikers.
The Labour Court ruling states that:
“A rule nisi is hereby issued calling upon the Respondents to show cause on 23 June 2008 why a final order should not be granted in the following terms:
1.1 Interdicting and restraining the Respondents and the Metro Police officers under their command and control from unlawfully, unjustifiably and unwarrantedly shooting, threatening to shoot, assaulting, intimidating, interfering with and committing any acts of violence against the Applicant’s (SAMWU) members while picketing in terms of Section 69 of the Act pending resolution of the current picketing dispute by the CCMA or this Honourable Court.”
Dozens of SAMWU members have been injured by the trigger-happy Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) since the beginning of the strike two weeks ago, with at least one worker having spent time in Intensive Care this week.
What is disturbing is that the media have not reported properly on the shooting - preferring to write along the lines of “SAMWU says workers were shot, but management says there was no shooting”, even though we have offered the media photographic evidence.
It is now indisputable from the above Court ruling that indeed, workers were being not only shot but assaulted and otherwise brutalised, and that the Court will not permit this.
We appeal to the media to stop viewing it as normal that police shoot and assault workers during strikes.
“The interdict is a victory for SAMWU because those police officers who continue to shoot at workers will be in contempt of court and are liable for arrest,” said SAMWU East Rand Branch Secretary Koena Ramotlou.
This is also a step forward for other unions and community movements and shackdwellers’ movements such as Abahlali baseMjondolo in eThekwini which have all faced huge amounts of police shooting and other violence every time they hold a lawful protest.
“We have set a trend for all unions who might face harassment from the police in future” said Ramotlou.
The strike continues on Monday. Even more workers are joining the strike. SAMWU is waiting for the office of the Gauteng Premier to meet with us to discuss what they can do to unlock the current impasse in the strike.
For comment call SAMWU’s East Rand Branch Secretary Koena Ramotlou on