Soft drink strike still unresolved

HOLDING TALKS: Hansie Koen, spokesman for Coca-Cola Fortune. © Unknown.
HOLDING TALKS: Hansie Koen, spokesman for Coca-Cola Fortune. © Unknown.

Riot Hlatshwayo

An illegal wage strike by frustrated casual employees at CocaCola Fortune Mpumalanga entered its third day yesterday.

The Nelspruit-based workers said they were aware that their strike was illegal but vowed to continue until management increased their remuneration from R75 a day to R300 a day.

"We are casual workers who don't get benefits such as medical aid, a provident fund or an annual bonus. We will continue with our strike until management addresses our demands," said workers who wanted to remain anonymous.

The workers, some of whom claim to have worked for the company as casual workers for nearly 20 years, are also demanding that they be permanently employed instead of having to sign three-year contracts.

They claimed that they were earning R125 a day until management clipped it to R75 in 1999 without explanation. The workers said they took the case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration but the case went nowhere.

The company's spokesman, Hansie Koen, said that the workers' demands were being "looked into".

"We are looking at ways to best resolve the problems we face. Management will hold a meeting to discuss the situation," Koen told Sowetan yesterday.

Production at the plant was "normal" but deliveries had been affected, he said.

Coca-Cola Fortune supplies soft drinks to the entire Mpumalanga Lowveld region from Waterval Boven down to the Mozambique border gate.