Young Communist League steps into ABI wage dispute fray
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