Sunday, 15 July 2007



1. Recognition of our union, CWU

2. Recognition of our Shop Stewards

3. Leave for Representatives to defend us

4. Cease to require the union to not negotiate on our behalf

Vodacom is the #1 telephone company in the country. With 30 million customers, 3 of every 5 South Africans with a mobile phone use Vodacom. The shareholders of the company earned R10,9 billion in profits last year.

Vodacom abuses its employees hiding behind a massive public relations exercise. Vodacom funds sports and other activities to ingratiate itself with the people of South Africa. Journalists are offered up to R100 000 through "Journalism Awards."

Those who create Vodacom's wealth are suffering. For example, according to workers, at Vodacom you are promoted, treated and paid based on your race and gender. Vodacom temporary workers are subjected to inhuman shifts of up to 18 hours. The company makes no provision for night shift workers, who often have no way of getting home safely. Women workers report sexual harassment. Employees have no way of addressing these grievances as they are subjected to a private arbitration process instead of CCMA. The company only follows the resolutions from this process when it suits them.

Vodacom's workers have been subjected to a campaign of terror for wanting a union. The CWU is a banned organization. Every week, members are called for "disciplinary hearings," where they are threatened, intimidated and/or disciplined in exaggerated ways, up to and including dismissal. Vodacom fines workers who join CWU through deducting from their pay dues for another union that they are not members of. Managers are offered economic incentives if they can keep union numbers below 10%.

A threshold of representativity can never be reached at Vodacom. Even if 100% of employees are recruited, Vodacom will continue to refuse to recognise CWU. The company does not acknowledge stop orders from employees that join the union and refuses to deduct dues from them. That is how they can claim that CWU has a low number of paid up members. Whenever the union achieves 30%, the company moves the goalpost by absorbing subsidiaries, hiring more permanent staff and inflating the numbers of staff. They have included temporary workers, flexi-staff and even interns in their count. They insist that all employees, from sweeper to CEO, must be counted.

Vodacom must be forced to respect the rights of workers and stop playing games. While CWU membership continues to grow every day, the company's extremist position has left workers no choice but to embark on a strike for recognition. The strike has gone on since July 2nd, and workers have been locked out. Vodacom workers should not stand alone against this attack. It is an attack against the laws of the Republic of South Africa and the historic conquests of the South African working class, orchestrated from the boardrooms of Vodafone UK.

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