newsBusiness Times reports that the jobs of more than 1,000 people may be on the line as Coca-Cola Beverages SA embarks on restructuring due to the effects of the sugar tax imposed on sugary drinks from April last year.  

In a notice to the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), Coca-Cola said tax as well as "economic headwinds" had resulted in lower volumes than expected.  Coca-Cola employs 7,100 people and retrenched 76 employees in the past year.  The possible job cuts of just over 1,000 jobs include logistics and warehouses where "the activity level has reduced significantly as a result of the reduction in volumes".  Those who could be affected include 117 warehouse operators, as well as clerks, shunter drivers, janitors, cleaners and scrub operators.  Others at risk are an estimated 650 merchandisers.  The company also intends cutting pay for certain jobs.  Katishi Masemola of Fawu said they opposed the retrenchments on the grounds that the company would be in breach of a 2017 order handed down by the Competition Tribunal when the Coca-Cola Company merged with Coca-Cola Beverages.  The Tribunal ruled that the merging entities should maintain employment levels for a period of three years from the date of approval.  It also prohibited involuntary retrenchments in the bargaining unit.  But the company said that the proposed retrenchments were not specific to the merger and were not in breach of its conditions.  Masemola said: "Should they proceed with the intention to retrench, we'll obviously take legal action, but also use our collective power to go on strike or to do anything possible within the laws of the country to make sure those retrenchments do not happen."

Read the original of Ntando Thukwana’s report on this story in full at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


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