Strikes rock World Cup

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Stewards, police officers, bus drivers and various World Cup workers are on strike, overshadowing the football event, leaving fans and officials stranded. The reason? A dispute over wages.

A string of spontaneous industrial action is casting a shadow over the World Cup in South Africa with security officials, bus drivers clashing with police in Durban and others walking out of Cape Town Stadium before Monday night’s match.

Security and transport workers have walked out of their jobs in protests over low pay.

Reports say on Monday night, police were forced to deploy more than 1000 trainee officers to manage the security checkpoints at Cape Town Stadium.

Bus drivers also stayed away from work in Johannesburg on Monday, causing major problems with transport to and from Soccer City.

Thousands of spectators were left stranded at Soccer City for hours, reports say.

Local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan is quoted saying “This is an employer-employee wage dispute. Although we have respect for workers’ rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match-day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action.”

In Johannesburg, about 90 Bus Rapid Transit System drivers hung up their keys Monday morning, leaving hundreds of Dutch and Danish fans headed for Soccer City stranded.

Reports say in Durban 500 security stewards at Moses Mabhida stadium embarked on a violent demonstration against low wages.

Initial reports showed that about 500 guards were involved in the unrest and they overturned refuse bins and threw objects at the police who had been called in to restore order.

The majority of the 60 000 plus fans, who converged at Moses Mabhida for the big game, had already left stadium by the time that trouble erupted at around 1am in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Television footage showed the police using teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the rowdy crowd and there were reports late yesterday that detectives were now studying CCTV footage of the disturbances to try and nail the culprits after South African authorities, who have made it clear that they want a trouble-free World Cup, opened a criminal case related to the disturbances.

The organising committee has asked police to assume control of that stadium too until further notice.

Several bus drivers say they had gone on strike after being told on Friday that their regular routes would change during the World Cup and that they would have to work overtime.

According to reports drivers where promised R250 (US$33) a shift but was cut last week to R100 (US$12).

Also workers for the sole power company, Eskom on Monday said they would also embark on an indefinite strike this week plunging the World Cup into darkness.

About 15 000 workers are employed by Eskom.

Workers are demanding for an 18 percent wage increase and a boost in housing allowances but they are offered six percent increase.

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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