Union threatens action over car guards

ATHINA MAY

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has threatened to take action against Bothasig mall management after it dismissed car guards who had worked there for more than ten years.

Last week Tabletalk reported that Kadima “Ngoy” Mudiwamdji, and five other car guards were fired from their jobs with a few days’ notice and no compensation, and simply told that another company, Mastiff Security Service, had taken over management of the car guards (“Car guards booted out at mall,” Tabletalk, March 9).

The men expressed their sorrow at having to leave the mall and losing the income they relied on to support their families. They said mall management had condemned them to a life of thieving by taking away their income.

Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich wrote a letter to the Blend Property Group saying, “In respect of the unfair eviction of the parking attendants, we urge you to reinstate them by Friday 11 March 2016, failing which we will run a campaign against your racist conduct.”

The letter threatened to “target all of your tenants as well as your customers”.

It said: “We urge you to fix this quietly, failing which you maybe be a victim of this conduct, which may include public vilification and the loss of your position.”

Asked for reaction to Cosatu’s letter, Vanessa McIntyre, speaking on behalf of Blend and Mastiff, said the group had not received any communication from Cosatu or from the offices of Mr Ehrenreich.

Ms McIntyre said the car guards who had previously worked at the mall had not had any formal contract and their informal employment had potentially put the mall customers at risk.

She said the new company, Mastiff Security Service, would now implement a formal service at the mall.

“There was no way to manage the car guards on site. This potentially put the customers at risk. Blend therefore mandated Mastiff Security Service CC to implement a formalised ‘Smart Customer Assist’ service at Bothasig Mall, thereby ensuring proper, formal management of any car guards on site while giving a formal employment opportunity to these car guards.”

Ms McIntyre said Mastiff and Blend had approached the car guards and given them the opportunity to join the company and asked for their paperwork.

Mastiff Security had agreed to help the men obtain working permits if they did not possess them.

“Not one of the five previous car guards supplied any of the documentation requested to Mastiff, and, accordingly, new car guards were formally placed on site under the management of Mastiff,” said Ms McIntyre.

However, while Mr Mudiwamdji confirmed that the guards had been approached about working for the new company they had not been asked for their papers.

”I have my papers, I would’ve given it to them if they asked for it, but they didn’t,” said Mr Mudiwamdji.

Mr Mudiwamdji is waiting to hear if his application for a job as a technician has been successful.

“I haven’t heard back from a job I applied for. I went to the mall last week and customers told me that they were looking for me and wanted my number to give me work.

“There are lots of people looking for us. It would be better for us if the mall took us back,” said Mr Mudiwamdji.

Athanase Matsynou said he had landed a temporary job as a security guard at a fisheries, filling in for two weeks for someone who had taken leave.

Ms McIntyre said the previous car guards were still welcome to present their papers to Mastiff.

She encouraged them to contact the security firm if they wished to resume work at the mall.

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