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strike thumb medium85 85The Star reports that the ongoing violent strike in the plastic sector has claimed its first fatality, after a security guard succumbed to burn wounds on Tuesday.  

Lesly Mphahlele, 37, of Tembisa, died at a Johannesburg hospital after he was admitted on Friday with severe burns.  It is alleged that members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) assaulted and doused him with petrol before setting him alight.  Since 1 October, Numsa has been at loggerheads with employers in the sector demanding a “living wage” and improved working conditions.  The demands include a 15% salary hike and R40 an hour.  Over the weeks, the strike has escalated into violence and has caused damage of some R125-million.  Mphahlele had been guarding a property in Springs when at around 11.45am a group of men assaulted him.  Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said it was presumptuous to assume that her union members were behind the attacks in the sector as there were other unions with an interest in the strike.  Johan Pieterse of the Plastic Converters Association of SA commented:  “This is no longer a strike but an act of violence.  Nobody takes petrol to a negotiation; it clearly shows that there was an intent to kill.”  He added that at least 11 trucks had been destroyed, mainly in Gauteng.

  • Read Lindile Sifile’s full original report in this regard on page 3 of The Star of 6 December 2018

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