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Wage dispute takes sheen off World Cup

sports Updated: Jun 16, 2010 00:41 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

The World Cup got dragged into a wage dispute between security stewards and their employers leading to protests in Durban and a strike in Cape Town, which forced police to use its trainees in the game between Italy and Paraguay on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, some 2000 stewards protested outside the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and asked FIFA to confirm what they should be paid for the tournament.

FIFA have said they won't get involved in this employer-employee dispute.

This was after a communiqué from the organising committee that said FIFA has asked the South African Police Service (SAPS) to take over security operations at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium and in Durban until further notice.

FIFA's request follows stewards leaving their posts after a wage dispute with their employers, Stallion Security Consortium.

This private company is also responsible for Soccer City and Ellis Park, the city's two World Cup venues.

Another company provides stewards in Polokwane, Nelspruit, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.

“All stadiums are being monitored on an individual basis and the risk of strikes is being assessed at each of the stadiums,” said Rich Mkhondo, spokesman of the local organising committee. “Any strike action is the legitimate right of the participant and we are not going to get involved,” he said. “The games will be held on time and they will end on July 11, 2010.”

On Monday, SAPS removed 500 striking workers out of the Green Point Stadium. Hours later in Durban, some 150 stewards started singing and dancing outside the stadium before moving downtown to register their protest.

As their numbers swelled, they returned to the stadium. Spain and Switzerland play in Durban on Wednesday.

A protest leader though said they don't want to inconvenience visitors and pledged to protect them even if they were on strike and barred from the venue.