WHERE LABOUR STANDS
The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) this week fell short in achieving its demands from the merging megabrewers, but said its members could strike or approach the courts to clinch a better deal.
Fawu had wanted SABMiller’s existing BEE scheme, called Zenzele, to be wound up and replaced by a new one, created as part of the AB InBev merger.
Fawu, which represents 4 200 workers at SABMiller’s local operations, was also looking for AB InBev to pay each of the 9 146 workers included in SABMiller’s local workers’ trust about R165 000, as an ex gratia payment – totalling R1.5 billion for its beneficiaries – as part of the deal.
The union said this proposed payout compared equally with the R1.2 billion that SABMiller CEO Alan Clark stood to gain once the merger was completed.
In the end, Fawu accepted changes to the merger conditions related to the Zenzele deal, but failed to win any of the major concessions it was seeking.
The union undertook to negotiate separately with AB InBev regarding the Zenzele scheme, which runs until 2020.
Fawu’s general secretary Katishi Masemola said there was still a chance that union members would strike at SABMiller’s local operations to get the Zenzele concessions they were seeking.
“We will continue to fight as our members are agitated,” he said.
He added that the union could also approach the courts, given that SABMiller’s employees were not getting treated in the same fashion as its shareholders were in their the merger conditions with AB InBev.
“There was a lot of anxiety among SABMiller workers about the change in ownership,” Masemola said.
“We are now going to be working for a monster we do not know.”