Today's Labour News

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fawuNetwerk24 reports that Parmalat SA (PSA) implemented a lock-out of members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) after several employees went on strike last week at the company’s Bonnievale plant.  

The strike and lock-out followed a deadlock reached in wage negotiations between the parties over many weeks.  The process included mediation by the CCMA.  “We will not work and will remain striking until our needs are met, we earn next to nothing and do not get paid double when we work on Sundays.  Everything is rising except for our wages,” a striker commented.  PSA described the decision to strike as “disappointing, given the parties had previously, at Fawu’s request, agreed to meet again on 29 June.”  HR executive Chris Vermeulen said the company had indicated its willingness throughout the negotiation process to move on its offer if Fawu did the same.  Vermeulen claimed that the strike had been accompanied by high levels of intimidation.  Initially, the union had been demanding a 12% wage increase, plus numerous other demands.  After weeks of negotiations, on 27 June its demand stood at 9% together with a number of remaining demands, while the company’s offer stood at 7.3% plus a once-off payment of R500.  PSA described the union’s other remaining demands as “substantial” and said they could not be agreed to.

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