PtG Article 14.06.2010

Riot Police End Workers’ Protest at Durban Stadium

World Cup Sunday that began at the soaring new arch of Durban Stadium ended in smoke and shrieks as police officers fired tear gas and what witnesses said were rubber bullets to break up a large group of protesting security guards. The altercation started shortly before 1 a.m. Monday, a few hours after the match between Germany and Australia ended.

Several of the guards said they and their colleagues were upset at being underpaid or, in some cases, not being paid for their work Sunday, the first day of competition in Durban.

“They’re giving us 205 rand; we started at 12 noon and worked until midnight, and they want to give us 205 rand,” said Sikhumbuzo Mnisi, a 44-year-old from Durban.

At current exchange rates, 205 rand is about $27. “Different things have been said to people, but we were promised 1,500 rand per day,” Mnisi said. “We started to protest because we wanted to negotiate.”

Nkosingiphine Maphumulo, a 23-year-old, said he had signed a three-month contract but only worked three days so far and had yet to be paid.

“Everyone was excited at first, but I think this World Cup is going too far,” Maphumulo said. “We don’t even have a cent to pay our expenses. We are losing money, because I paid for transport to get here.”

SOURCE: The New York Times