Workers at Durban underwear factory protest over 'unpaid' UIF
Frustrated workers at Playtex, an undergarment manufacturer in Durban, have downed tools in protest over unpaid UIF Covid-19 relief funds.
They demonstrated outside the premises on Wednesday while company bosses held a meeting with shop stewards.
“The company got the UIF money but that money has not reached workers' pockets,” one worker claimed.
They accused their employer of “intimidation and bullying tactics” and claimed that half of the more than 700 workers at the factory were suspended on Wednesday for “asking too many questions”.
“The employer says money is with the bargaining council and suspended workers this morning for asking him questions. He said they must leave because he can't work with violent people. Everyone ended up going outside, that is why we are all here,” another worker said.
Workers claimed they had not received relief funds for nearly three months.
“We now work three days per week, seven hours per day and our salaries were cut by 50%.”
“We have asked the employer to bring representatives from the bargaining council to speak to us together so that we establish where the money is but he keeps making excuses,” another employee said.
Workers said they hoped for a speedy solution to the impasse.
“Right now he is in a meeting with our representatives, we are not fighting, we just want the UIF money because when we check online, it reflects that it has been paid to the employer.”
TimesLIVE was unable to reach either the workers' representatives or the employer as both parties were locked in a meeting.