Fawu to use World Cup to pressure ABI

2010-01-19 13:08

The Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) is planning a World Cup

linked campaign against Coca-Cola products after unsuccessful wage talks with

Amalgamated Beverages Industries (ABI), a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“Unions can use the coming World Cup to twist the arm of the

employers to certain concessions,” Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola told

media in Johannesburg.

Some 2 500 workers remained on strike after wage talks between the

union and Fawu failed to yield an agreement.

Masemola said that the company remained adamant on a 7.8% pay rise

offer while the union was demanding 9.5 %.

During the latest round of talks under the auspices of the

Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, the union said it was

willing to drop its demand to 8.5 % but the company would not budge.

The union wanted Coca-Cola advertising isolated from World Cup

activities. Coca-Cola is an official Fifa World Cup partner.

“The union will be presenting an input paper on the Fifa Soccer

World Cup link campaign against Coca-Cola products and sponsorship,” Masemola

said.

This would be presented at a meeting of the Coca-Cola workers

alliance steering committee in Switzerland next month.

ABI is the soft drinks division of SAB Miller and beer workers are

set to join the strike action on January 27 to participate “in sympathy” with

their soft drinks co-workers.

Masemola again condemned violence and intimidation during the

strike. However he continued to distance the union from the alleged acts.

He said no incidents of violence or intimidation had taken place on

the picket line outside ABI plants nor had any incidents been reported during a

march to hand over a memorandum.

Masemola said the union would wait for evidence that burned ABI

trucks and petrol-bombed homes were related to the strike.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions, to which Fawu is affiliated, on

Monday called on consumers to boycott Coca-Cola products.

ABI said the month-long strike action has had no effect on its

business.

Masemola disputed this, saying Fawu members had resolved to remain

on strike because they were aware the company was suffering.

“We are pretty confident that our strike has an impact ...

shortages are beginning to show up in various parts of the country,” he

said.

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