Fawu to take strike action after ‘useless’ 3.5% increase offer

Trade Union Fawu members march along Commissioner Street in Johannesburg, 6 February 2013, to Johannesburg Central police station to demand an investigation into the 1982 death of apartheid activist Neil Aggett in police custody. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Parties failed to reach an agreement in terms of the union’s demands which was a 15% increase for employees, Ingrain offered a 3.5% increase.

The Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU) has announced they will embark on industrial action on Monday 22 February, in demand for better wages and working conditions.

The strike action will take place at these locations:

  • Outside Tongaat-Hulett’s (Ingrain) premises at the Kliprivier
  • Germiston
  • Meyerton mills in Gauteng
  • Bellville mills in Cape Town

Fawu said in a statement: “The dispute arose after parties failed to reach an agreement in terms of the union’s demands as mandated by our members at a CCMA case held on 14 December 2020.

“Our members at the company’s starch division demand a 15 per cent wage increase while the company offers a useless 3,5 per cent. Workers also seek a housing allowance, a covid-19 allowance for level 4 and 5, health insurance and an employee share scheme.”

The union is facing off Tongaat Hulett Starch which was sold to Barloworld in 2020, after which it was renamed Ingrain.

The union says their demands are to complement the employees standard of living under the “difficult conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has ravaged lives.”

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They noted that the cost of living has increased and that the company financially has performed well in 2020.

They referenced an article from IOL, that Ingrain directors have been rewarded with up to R 37,64 million in cash bonuses for turning the company around.

“This is the same year in which the company is alleging that they are operating under extremely difficult conditions, the very same year in which they allege that the Covid-19 outbreak and the imposed lockdown impacted negatively on their volumes.

“Our members want to know how it was possible then to reward directors handsomely, while workers continued to be offered peanuts after all their hard work and dedication? This includes but is not limited to risking their lives as well as those of their loved one’s by working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, especially during the level five lockdown?”

The union concluded that they will no longer accept “exploitation of the workers’ class.”

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