STRIKERS at Amalgamated Beverages Industries are mobilising other workers employed by South African Breweries for a sympathy strike.

Yesterday afternoon they received a boost from the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa), which pledged solidarity with the striking workers.

The Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese called on South Africans to boycott Coca-Cola, for four hours a day, in solidarity with the strikers.

This followed a picket by striking ABI workers at the company's plant in Pretoria.

Earlier, Katishi Masemola, the general secretary of the Food and Allied Workers Union, whose members are on strike, said they were already mobilising workers in other SAB divisions to join them in a sympathy strike.

"We will be mobilising workers from other divisions of SAB, particularly the beer division," Masemola said.

He told Sowetanthat they had started consultations with other workers within the company.

"Early indications are that they are in support of our strike," Masemola said.

The strike has been going on since Tuesday last week.

"The workers demand a 9,5percent wage increase across the board, a 45-hour working week to be limited from Monday to Friday, and an end to the use of labour brokers," Masemola said.

Commercial director at ABI Velaphi Ratshefola said the company viewed the 7,8percent offer it has made as "very good pay".

"In actual fact, the offer amounts to 8,3percent if one factors in other fringe benefits, and we are hopeful that the union will see sense in this," he said.

Ratshefola also said that the company condemned the violence which "has increased at a dramatic pace with the bombing of trucks".

He said the company had put "in place strong contingency plans to ensure the least minimum disruption of business".

Numsa's Ngobese said: "The arrogance displayed by SAB's ABI management is reflective of their intentions to maintain and perpetuate the old apartheid Bantu income inequalities in the midst of massive poverty.

"Numsa calls on South Africans to stop buying ABI beverages between 1pm and 5pm every day to force the company to adhere to the workers' demands."

Communications manager at ABI Emma King said they had seen Ngobese's comments, but "we cannot issue a response at this stage".