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Strike halts South African stadium building

Latest update : 2009-02-19

A strike by 400 workers is paralysing the construction of the Mbombela stadium in South Africa. Builders have been dismissed for going on strike, a move that could put the July completion deadline at risk, according to unions and employers.

AFP - Around 400 builders at one of the 2010 South Africa World Cup stadiums have been dismissed for going on strike in a move that could put at risk its July completion deadline, their union and employers said.

"About 400 of the construction workers at Mbombela stadium, most of them members of the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM), who have been on illegal strike were sacked on Tuesday," George Ledwaba, the union's local spokesman told AFP.

"If this strike, which began on February 6, goes on for another week, it will affect the scheduled completion date of the stadium," he said.

"Our target completion time is July ... we will probably have to extend this deadline as a result of the strike," the stadium construction manager, Neil Fourie, told AFP.

He said that the workers downed tools over wages and bonuses.

Ledwaba condemned the strike by his union members which he said was "illegal" and "irresponsible" because, according to him, they did not follow due process before downing tools.

About 1,000 workers are involved in the construction of the stadium.

Workers at the 46,000-seat Mbombela stadium have staged earlier strikes, most significantly in February last year to demand a near doubling of their wages.

Similar disputes have previously broken out at stadiums in Durban and Cape Town, but World Cup organisers say they are confident those projects will be completed on time.

Ten stadiums in nine cities will play host to the 2010 World Cup, the first time the tournament has been staged in Africa.

The FIFA deadline for the completion of all the stadiums is October 15.

Date created : 2009-02-19