The wage strike is over

The wage strike by employees of stationery and office furniture supplier Bidvest Waltons has been called off after workers and employers reached an agreement.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu) organiser, Andrew Nortje, says the union received a fresh mandate from the workers and the two parties reached an agreement­.

Bidvest Waltons’ human resources manager, Samantha Britnell, confirmed the strike is over. “I can confirm that the strike between the parties has been resolved and that the employees have agreed to return to work with effect from [Friday 17 August].”

People’s Post understands that according to the agreement, workers earning below R9000 per month would receive a 7.5% hike while those getting paid R9000 and above would get a 5.5% increase, and a 4.4% raise would be afforded to employees earning R15 000 and above. The increases would be back-dated to Sunday 1 July. Some of the workers confirmed they had accepted the employers’ revised offer.

The workers were initially demanding a 9% increase and the employer offering 6.09%, leading to the former downing tools. For a week and a half, the workers picketed outside the company’s head office in Woodstock.

Some of the company’s branches were reportedly closed during the strike. The company has branches in areas including Constantia, Tyger Valley, Claremont, Waterfront, Stellenbosch and Paarl. Britnell denied that their branches had to be closed.

The workers lamented rising food and petrol prices as the reasons for the action.

Cosatu in the province pledged its support to the strike action, with provincial secretary, Malverne de Bruyn, addressing the workers.