Up to 300 contractor or temporary jobs have been culled at four plants that Tiger Brands has shut down or suspended operations at as the food giant tries to contain the damage caused by its association with the listeriosis crisis.
The four plants that Tiger Brands has shut down completely or temporarily are the Value Added Meat Product facility in Pretoria, the Enterprise Foods factories in Polokwane and Germiston, and the Clayville abattoir.
Tiger Brands spokesperson Nevashnee Naicker said that these four plants employed about 1 800 permanent workers and 300 contractors.
Value Added Meat Product’s facility employs 180 permanent staff, Enterprise Foods in Polokwane has 520 employees, Enterprise Foods in Germiston employs 650 permanent staff and the Clayville abattoir has 310 staff.
“In addition, there are approximately 140 sales and admin staff across all four sites collectively,” Naicker said.
“No permanent staff members have been impacted at this stage. Temporary staff, who are normally assigned by labour brokers, have, however, been impacted.
“The number of contractors fluctuates depending on operational requirements, however, approximately 300 contractors are employed collectively across all four sites,” she said.
The major trade unions that represent workers at the four plants are the Food and Allied Workers’ Union and the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union.
“While all facilities have halted production, our people are at work assisting with various other functions within the factories, predominantly related to deep-cleaning protocols and routine hygiene activities that are still required for food production facilities,” Naicker said.
Regarding the reopening of the four plants, Naicker said: “Food safety and the health of our consumers remains our foremost priority, and we are leaving no stone unturned as we get to the bottom of the Listeria detection at our Polokwane facility. We are working closely with local and international experts in Listeria management, as well as with local department of health authorities. We are agreeing to the requirements for starting up and reopening the facilities with the authorities. At present, we do not have a view of when the facilities will be reopened.”
When asked what was likely to happen to the permanent employees at the respective facilities if they were shut for an extended period, Naicker said: “It is premature to comment on job cuts at this stage. We are working closely with authorities to agree on the criteria for reopening the facilities at present.”
Earlier this month, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that the source of the listeriosis outbreak came from polony made by Enterprise Foods, which is owned by Tiger Brands.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has reported that 978 cases of listeriosis have been confirmed across the country.
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