(2015-04-30) Workers on the bridge over Maputo Bay, who went on strike on Monday, have won their main demand, for work contracts for an indeterminate period, rather than precarious contracts for only two months which led the workers to fear that they might be fired at any moment.
The workers are employed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), hired by the state owned Maputo South Development Company to build the bridge over the bay from central Maputo to the district of Katembe.
About 200 of them (including metalworkers, mechanics, masons and drivers) went on strike on Monday morning, and prevented people and equipment from entering or leaving the CRBC work yard in the Maputo neighbourhood of Malanga.
The Labour Ministry, through theMaputo neighbourhood of Malanga and the General Inspectorate of Labour (IGT), intervened and succeded in extracting sufficient concessions from the management to persuade the strikers to return to work on Monday afternoon.
According to a Labour Ministry press release, the mediation successfully overcame the contract issue. After hours of negotiation between the company and the building workers’ union (SINTICIM), under the mediation of the Ministry bodies, CRBC gave way and agreed to sign contracts with the workers for an indeterminate period (which probably means until 2017, when the bridge is expected to be complete).
This was the second strike at CRBC this month. The first strike, on 14 April, raised questions, not only of the work contracts, but also of lack of protective equipment, racism at the workplace, unjust dismissals, and excessively long working hours without overtime pay. The workers complained that when they were ill, or when they attended family funerals, the management docked their wages.
Most of these issues are dealt with in an agreement reached under COMAL and IGT mediation. The Chinese company has now promised to implement the agreement in full. It established that, in line with the country’s labour legislation, the normal working day is eight hours long, and any overtime must be paid for.
Should any worker violate workplace norms or rules, the company must initiatite disciplinary proceedings, rather than immediately sacking the worker. Up until now, the CRBC norm had been to sack on the spot any worker who displeased the management, in flagrant breach of Mozambican labour law.
Photo: File / Works resume at the Maputo/Catembe bridge after the strike
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