CAPE TOWN, June 10 (AFP) - South Africa's legislators had to run a gauntlet of protesting workers at lunch time on Monday as employees of the country's parliament held a placard demonstration through the corridors and lobbies.
One of the restaurants used by members of parliament was closed by the work stoppage as waiters, cleaners, clerks, messengers and porters held up printed posters telling the parliamentary management to "go to hell."
The placards also called for the dismissal of Robin Douglas, the secretary of parliament, who was accused of perpetuating the attitudes of apartheid South Africa.
A union spokesman, Buddy Ntsong, said the workers were protesting a decision to dock a day's pay for their participation in a strike held at the end of April in support of the Congress of South African Trade Unions' national one-day strike.
The strike was held to drive home the labour federation's point of view that there should be no right of employers to lock their workers out written into the new constitution, which was then being negotiated.
"In many government departments there was no deduction on that day," Ntsong said. "It is only in parliament that this is happening. They must be exposed for holding on to outdated values.
Douglas said the April 30 strike had been dealt with on a no-work-no-pay basis. Some staff had not applied for leave, and would lose a day's pay. They were unhappy about that.
"I can't pay taxpayers' money to people who didn't work on a particular day," he said.
The new constitution has been approved by parliament without the right to lock-out being enshrined in it, although the right is protected under legislation, which is specifically mentioned in the text of the document.
Copyright =A9 1996 Agence France Presse