STRIKE ACTION HAS NO IMPACT ON SAB OPERATIONS

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Johannesburg. 30 September 2013. The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) embarked on industrial action at the South African Breweries (SAB) today, but only a small minority of workers went on strike and SAB’s operations were unaffected.

There was uncertainty about the reasons and objectives of the strike due mainly to a lack of clarity on FAWU’s demands. SAB has encouraged FAWU to conduct a ballot as required in their constitution to ascertain the views of its members on industrial action as SAB believes that the majority of workers want to continue working. The company has a full contingency plan in place to minimise disruptions to operations and customers.

SAB has offered an average wage increase of 7%. This would have been acceptable to FAWU subject to certain conditions such as fundamentally undermining performance related pay (PRP), which SAB did not agree with as PRP is a key part of its DNA and critical to its continued success.

SAB said it was disappointing that the union had decided to go on strike over such a small difference in the wage position, particularly as PRP has been part of the company’s operations for more than 16 years.

SAB MD Mauricio Leyva said SAB believes that a 7% increase is highly competitive and is also above the inflation rate for the year. “SAB is one of the highest paying employers in South Africa across all sectors, and one of the highest in the brewing industry worldwide. If our offer was accepted by the union, our average shift worker’s salary would rise to R18 283.09 a month, inclusive of allowances. In comparison, the average remuneration across all sectors is R4 773 and the average bargaining unit salary in the FMCG sector is R9 600.

Leyva said that the company would retain its 7% wage increase offer despite the strike. However, he said the company was concerned that FAWU had not held a strike ballot with its members as required by the union’s constitution.

“We have encouraged FAWU to conduct a strike ballot and are willing to help them do so. We are worried that without a ballot to assess support for the strike, members may resort to intimidation and even violence to get employees to join the strike, ” he said.

SAB’s contingency plan is being implemented and the company has also put security measures in place to protect those people who wish to work.

SAB has a strong and enduring relationship with FAWU and remains committed to continued engagement with union leadership in an effort to resolve the dispute in the most amicable manner possible and without delay.

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