Strike at winery comes to an end

2016-11-24 17:05
(Johan Cloete, News24 User)

(Johan Cloete, News24 User)

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Cape Town - The 14-week strike at Robertson Winery has ended.

Farmworkers will return to work on Monday after agreeing to an 8% or R400 increase - whichever is greater.

The Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) secured backdated pay to August 8, 2016, and a full annual bonus for the workers.

The bonus would be paid on Friday.

The agreement makes provision for increases in 2017 and 2018 of CPI (consumer price index), plus 1.5% and 1% respectively.

Under the agreement, disciplinary action will not be taken against strike leaders, according to CSAAWU.

The strike was accompanied by boycotts and garnered international attention.

150% increase 'implausible and impossible'

In a statement, CSAAWU said that, although they had not been successful in their demand for R8 500 a month, the wine industry would never be the same.

CSAAWU had previously said that the company's workers earned between R2 900 and R3 500 a month, before deductions.

According to Robertson Winery, the cost-to-company of an employee following the strike agreement will now be R4 264 per month.

"Some of the poorest paid workers in this country have mobilised a strike for more than three months in a sector where strikes are unheard of," CSAAWU said.

Robertson Winery Managing Director Anton Cilliers said CSAAWU's demand for an increase of 150% was "implausible and impossible to consider".

He said management was "committed to the overall improvement of the lives of all our employees" and that employees received free medical services and access to housing loans and subsidies "where applicable".

Cilliers said the winery would engage with CSAAWU to improve their relationship.

Read more on:    robertson winery  |  labour

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