Capita workers forced to sleep in office during taxi strike
A Cape Town telecommunications company has been described as “inhumane and disgusting” by its employees after making them sleep at the office overnight during the taxi strikes.
Capita, a UK telecommunications company based in Cape Town, told its workers last week that they would have to stay the night on Sunday in anticipation of disruptions to public transport.
Over the weekend, the company sent out a message encouraging employees to sleep at the call centre to avoid losing production in the two days the taxi strike was meant to last.
Some of the workers alleged that bathrooms were not working and there was no privacy where they slept.
On Monday night, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) representative Mbulelo Dwane, with a handful of others, went to Capita management condemning the decision.
An employee who asked to remain anonymous told Scrolla.Africa that the employer told them to bring blankets and toiletries.
“Reading the message from the supervisor, it seems it is optional to sleep there but we know what will happen to people who don’t come to work because of the strike — they will be subjected to a disciplinary hearing or dismissed,” says the employee.
The employee says they had to roam around outside the workplace until 11pm when the shift was done. Some allegedly slept on the floor while others slept on desks.
“It was inhumane and disgusting,” says the employee.
Another employee says there was no privacy and they agreed to sleep at the office because they need the job in order to put food on the table for their families.
“There are no bathrooms and we had to use toilet sinks to wash in the morning,” says the employee.
The employees thanked activists who came to their aid on Monday afternoon. Activists pleaded with management to allow the workers to sleep at their homes.
“We were meant to sleep there for two days and three nights, but thanks to some activist that approached the management and demanded an end to this,” says the employee.
Jessica Walker, speaking on behalf of Capita, says the call for workers to sleep at the office was optional and not mandatory.
“Due to the uncertainty of the Cape Town strike, to ensure safety, we gave colleagues options to stay at the premises. It was optional, not mandatory,” says Walker.
Walker says workers were released after some engagements on Monday afternoon.
Mbulelo Dwane, an activist, says they plan to pursue the issue following the engagement with Capita management.
“No one will be sleeping there tonight. We will do a follow-up with management about the issues we raised,” says Dwane.
Pictured above: Blankets laid down on the Capita office floor