Union vows to fight plan to lay off 300 workers
THE South African Breweries' (SAB) plan to retrench 300 workers has been put down to greed to make a greater profit at the expense of employees.
Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) national negotiator Sifiso Makhaye yesterday accused the SAB of putting the interest of shareholders above of that of workers.
"We are convinced that the SAB is doing very well at the moment, so there cannot be any reason for retrenchments other than greed for more profits," he said.
Makhaye said Fawu shop stewards would hold a meeting today (Monday) to discuss how to oppose the retrenchments.
He said the union was shocked that the SAB issued a notice of retrenchments during wage negotiations in which the union is demanding 9% and the company is offering 4.8%.
"We strongly believe that the deliberate timing of this notice is intended to divert focus from the current stalled and hostile negotiations on increases and benefits between Fawu and SAB. The way this notice has been issued goes against the norms and shocked our members since we regarded SAB as a growing and profitable business."
"This exercise is a ploy to appease shareholders by recycling labour into profit margins," he said.
SAB spokeswoman Robyn Chalmers confirmed that about 285 people, mostly from support functions, might be retrenched.
She said the company was implementing the next phase of its capability programme to ensure that it had the right skills, resources and experience to deliver on its business strategy.
"The programme was introduced in March to ensure a streamlined and efficient business. The aim was to identify positions that may have become redundant, where work was being duplicated as well as capability gaps that needed to be filled," she said.
"Initially 71 employees were retrenched and the review has continued looking particularly at ways to free up internal resources to allow for a greater focus on market-facing activities."