Food union to march against sugar tax

2016-11-27 14:06
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2016-03-23 11:36

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Johannesburg - The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has announced that it will march on Monday against the pending 'sugar tax'.

"We support a quest for a healthy nation and want an obesity-free population… However, we do not believe that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverage products will be a mechanism to achieve the intended health objectives," said Fawu General Secretary Katishi Masemola in a statement released on Sunday.

He said Fawu believed job losses would occur if the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages tax was instated.

"The determination to mount this march was informed by admission[s] from the Treasury and their researchers that there will be job losses emanating from this Sugar Tax and the silly claims that those lost jobs will be will be fictitiously created elsewhere, say in bottled water or 100% juices factories…

"Anyway, one job loss is too many jobs to lose."

Masemola said the march would take place on Monday in Pretoria and a memorandum would be handed over at the Treasury's head offices.

Fawu said protestors were calling for a summit to be held in which obesity and related non-communicable diseases – as well as interventions to prevent these – would be comprehensively discussed.

He said if the tax was to raise revenue for government, "we may agree". 

However if it was a health policy intervention "we beg to differ".

"We think this will simply become another 'sin tax' like those taxes on alcohol and tobacco products."

The issue of obesity went beyond sugary beverages, raising the question why other products with high sugar and fat contents were not being taxed, said Masemola.

Furthermore, poverty and unemployment meant that it could be a lifestyle choice to consume "sugary Coke drinks or diluting an Oros concentrate into liters of drinks [rather than] consuming a relatively 'unaffordable' 100% juice," Masemola said.

Read more on:    fawu  |  health

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