A COMMUNICATION Workers Union (CWU) official was allegedly blocked from entering the ANN7 premises in Midrand to represent 15 employees who were undergoing a disciplinary hearing, on Thursday morning.
The employees’ jobs are on the line for reportedly protesting the move by a senior employee to sign a letter purporting to be on their behalf, to four major banks — ABSA‚ Standard Bank‚ Nedbank and FNB – demanding that they not close the accounts of Oakbay, in order to save the jobs of staff.
Oakbay is a company owned by the Gupta family, which owns ANN7.
The employees said the demand to the banks had been made without their consent.
In April, employees had also chased ANC Youth League president Collen Maine — chanting #MaineMustFall — from the Gupta offices, when he went to try to resolve staff issues.
According to sources in the company‚ CWU national co-ordinator Tshepo Matlou was prevented from entering the ANN7 building on Thursday morning.
“He was stopped by security and refused entry to the premises to represent the 15 journalists and staff members‚” one employee said.
Another employee added: “The situation is very tense at the offices with the disciplinary hearings under way. We were warned not to go outside for fear of the angry employees who might turn violent.”
Former National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) spokesperson Castro Ngobese posted on Facebook: “Gupta-owned ANN7 management is refusing cde Tshepo (CWU organiser) entrance to their premises in Midrand. The cde is there to represent workers who are facing impromptu disciplinary charges.”
Matlou was later allowed in to represent the employees.
Employees of the Gupta-owned business empire have vowed to continue their services despite the likelihood of not receiving their salaries in June.
Over the past two months‚ the Guptas and their employees have done all they could to force the country’s banks to change their decision to cut ties with the controversial family, to no avail.
The company was given till June 10 to find alternative solutions.