Security walks out at Durban, Cape town stadiums, police take over

Police have taken over responsibility for security at World Cup stadiums in Cape Town and Durban after a wage dispute escalated between stewards and a security contractor.

World Cup organizers said Monday they called in police after stadium staff left their posts in a wage dispute with Stallion Security Consortium.

The local organizing committee says the match between Italy and Paraguay at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town will kick off on time.

“Gates have opened, the police are in control and the match will kick off as scheduled,” organizers said in a statement.

Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan said the problem was an “employer-employee wage dispute.”

“Although we have respect for workers’ rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action in such instances,” Jordaan said.

Security staff walked out after failed peace talks Monday with the organizing committee and contractor Stallion.

In Durban, police used force late Sunday to break up a protest by stadium workers who said they had been underpaid. At least two protesters were hurt after police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse some 400 protesters.

The violent incident occurred after Durban hosted its first World Cup match and Germany thrashed Group D opponent Australia 4-0.

On Monday, protesting workers said they had been turned away from the stadium after demanding payment under the terms of a wage agreement they said had been breached. The workers said their basic daily pay had been slashed by about a third without notice.

Stadium officials could not be reached for comment.

“They are doing this because we are poor and they can take advantage of us,” said a protesting security guard. “We don’t have money to hire a lawyer ... We presented our grievances and they told us we had to stop working.”

The man asked not to be identified, fearing dismissal.

Several hundred employees could be seen leaving the stadium Monday after being turned away. Police presence remained heavy at Moses Mabhida Stadium.