Young Com­mu­nist League steps into ABI wage dis­pute fray

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - ISSUES -

THE YOUNG Com­mu­nist League has called for a boy­cott of Amal­ga­mated Bev­er­age In­dus­tries (ABI) prod­ucts if the com­pany re­fuses to meet work­ers’ wage de­mands.

“It is high time peo­ple start boy­cotting ABI prod­ucts, be­cause the com­pany has no re­spect for its work­ers,” said the league’s KwaZulu-Natal chair­man, Bheki Mbuthuma.

ABI is SA Brew­eries’ soft drinks divi­sion.

Mbuthuma was ad­dress­ing mem­bers of the Food and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Fawu) who marched in Dur­ban yes­ter­day for a 9.5 per­cent wage in­crease. The com­pany has of­fered work­ers 8.3 per­cent.

More than 1 000 ABI work­ers downed tools on De­cem­ber 22 in the wage dis­pute. Fawu has also de­manded that all agree­ments with labour bro­kers be nul­li­fied.

De­scrib­ing the pay de­mand as fair, Mbuthuma said: “It is clear that they don’t want to lis­ten. Their prod­ucts should be boy­cotted.”

ABI and Fawu held wage talks on Wed­nes­day at which a draft agree­ment was reached, but nei­ther party would de­tail the con­tents. Fawu un­der­took to seek feed­back from its mem­bers.

ABI was hope­ful the strike would be re­solved by Mon­day, said spokes­woman Emma King.

ABI’s of­fer of 8.3 per­cent in­cluded an across-the-board wage of­fer of 7.8 per­cent, to bring the min­i­mum wage to R7 235.

The pack­age in­cluded an in­crease in the ed­u­ca­tion grant from R275 to R350, a Christ­mas voucher of R400, a hiked cell­phone al­lowance, a 45-hour work­ing week, and over­time pay for Satur­days.

How­ever, ad­dress­ing work­ers out­side the Dur­ban City Hall yes­ter­day af­ter noon, Fawu’s Them­binkosi Ngcobo said they still wanted 9.5 per­cent.

“The draft agree­ment will be scru­ti­nised and the de­ci­sion whether we ac­cept it or not will be taken by the work­ers,” said Ngcobo. – Sapa

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