Private security industry threatens to leave schools, shops and properties unguarded in massive strike

 ·15 Jul 2022

The security industry is threatening to strike, leaving private and public infrastructure unguarded if its wage demands are not met.

The industry demands that employers offer a R900 (roughly 16%) national monthly wage increase every year over the next three years. Employers have offered a 3.5% increase.

Twenty-three unions representing roughly 500,000 members are demanding the increase.

Negotiations initially started in April; however, an agreement has not been made. The last time the industry saw a wage increase was in 2019, when the unions secured a 8.5% hike.

“Private security officers are not going to be seen in any building, any shop, any school or properties,” said Khumbulani Moyo, spokesperson for the private security sector unions.

Speaking to CapeTalk, Philemon Bhembe, national coordinator at the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), said that unions want to continue to be paid a monthly salary and for the industry not to move to an hourly rate – as proposed by employers.

He added that the demanded adjustment is to assist employees in coping with the rising cost of living.

Bhembe said that the industry was declared an essential service during the Covid-19 period, putting their lives on the line and not seeing any remuneration increase. Unions are also asking for family responsibility leave to be extended from five to seven days.

He added that it is “only fair”, and there is enough money in the sector to make the adjustment. If achieved, the new wage increase will come into effect in March 2023, said Bhembe.

According to Bhembe, unions are waiting for the CCMA to issue a consultation date, and they expect employers to come to the table with a better offer. If negotiations remain deadlocked, the CCMA may issue a certificate enabling the unions to conduct a protected strike.

Should the sector take the street, private and public infrastructure will be left unchecked as an industry double the size of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) combined halts operations.

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