They gave the company three days to respond to their memorandum, failing which they would go on strike. Wearing red Communication Workers Union T-shirts about 1 000 of them slowly marched from the Pretoria City Hall to Telkom Towers, bringing traffic to a halt in Bosman Street.
“These people are too slow, there will be chaos in the afternoon when traffic volumes increase, the city gaan deurmekaar word [there will be chaos in the city],” whistled one Tshwane metro police officer directing traffic at Bosman and Skinner streets.
Singing President Jacob Zuma’s trademark song, “Awulethu Mshini Wam”, they waved placards reading: “Charity begins at home”, “Turn around our lives first” and “Equal pay for the same job”.
One protester said: “After 15 years in democracy Telkom still pays different salary for a white worker and black worker doing the same job.”
Union spokesman Pheane Ramoadi said workers wanted Telkom to adjust the pay of the lowest-paid workers before implementing the 7,5% salary increase to which they had agreed.
He said Telkom had only three days to do so or they would go on a full-scale strike and revert to the 13% pay hike they initially wanted.
Irate workers booed Telkom board members as they got onto a truck to receive the memorandum. “Thiba ka moo re bolaya ntswa tse [watch how we kill these dogs]” they sang as a union official attempted to restore order.
They also wanted to transformation of the human resources department, claiming it was the cause of salary disparities. — Sapa