Around 300 stadium workers at the world cup stadium in Durban refused to go home after work last night, causing armed police to treat the protest as a potential riot – charging the staff with tear gas and firing rubber bullets.
But why did the police need to go in so heavy-handed? The workers seemed to have a genuine complaint and they managed to voice it eloquently to the media – how come the management of their company felt it was appropriate to call in the riot police?
In the dry run, where they did a complete practice session for a world cup game, the management did not tell the workers how much they would be earning. On the day of the game itself many of the workers left home at 7am and were still at the stadium at 1am that night – it was a long day.
Then they got pay packets containing 190 Rand ($25) when some of them had heard unconfirmed rumours (supposedly from FIFA) that the workers would be getting paid 1,500 Rand ($195).
Perhaps the contractor might want to speak to the media to explain why these workers had no form of contract, no idea of wht they would be earning, and no help getting home from the stadium at 1am? FIFA ought to be there mediating between these workers and the contractor, not watching the police pump rubber bullets into people asking for fair pay for very long days making sure the world cup games run smoothly.
What’s going to happen to the next Durban game if all 300 workers decide to just not bother showing up for work?