National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members are currently picketing outside Spot On Dry Cleaners & Launderers in Johannesburg.
The union says it represents some 120 employees at the laundry cleaning service.
Spot On Dry Cleaners & Launderers is a fourth-generation family-run organisation.
The company provides dry cleaning and cleaning services to the public and private sectors.
It has a wide range of clients that include hotels and hospitals in Gauteng.
Hospitals such as Helen Joseph, Chris Hani Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke, and hotel groups including Sun International Hotels andThe Capital Group may experience delays with their laundry services because of the strike.
The strike is a result of the company’s refusal to grant Numsa organisational rights.
Spot On’s owners claim that Numsa’s scope does not cover their business.
“We demonstrated to the CCMA that our scope does indeed cover them, and the commissioner agreed. However, the owners still arrogantly refuse to cooperate with us,” said Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.
The country’s Constitution allows workers to join a union of their choice without interference from employers.
“Most companies who resist this process do so because they have something to hide,” said Hlubi-Majola.
“They worry that if the union is granted organisational rights, they will no longer be able to exploit workers freely because they will be exposed for wrongdoing,” she added.
Numsa said Spot On behaved as though they had something to hide, which explained its hostility to workers trying to establish a workplace forum.
“This is why our members have resolved to go on strike,” said Hlubi-Majola.
The strike began on Monday morning, according to Numsa, is expected to continue until the company grants the union organisational rights in the company.
“Our members have been forced into taking matters into their own hands,” insisted Hlubi-Majola.
“They are sick and tired of their rights being undermined, which is why they have resorted to this drastic course of action. This is an indefinite strike until the union is recognised.”
Engineering sector strike update
Meanwhile, the union said it had received a revised wage offer from the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) concerning the ongoing strike in the engineering sector.
“Members are deliberating on a wage proposal made by Seifsa. We are currently receiving responses from regions on the proposal,” said Hlubi-Majola.
The revised wage offer comes after Numsa deadlocked with employers last week during wage negotiations.
Last week, shop floors at steel factories and within the engineering sector were left empty as thousands of workers attended rallies in Durban, Northern Cape, Johannesburg, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
Numsa is demanding an 8% increase across the board for the first year and a CPI + 2% improvement factor for the second and third years.