Bid to halt ABI STRIKE FAILS

THE strike action by soft drinks distributor ABI's workers, who are affiliates of the Food & Allied Workers Union, has entered its fourth week.

THE strike action by soft drinks distributor ABI's workers, who are affiliates of the Food & Allied Workers Union, has entered its fourth week.

This comes after interventions by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) failed to entice disgruntled workers.

Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said despite Wednesday's CCMA intervention his union leaders communicated the situation to members at the weekend and no agreement was reached on ending the strike action.

He said Fawu had made a "compromise gesture" on other crucial issues - including labour brokers - and had deferred discussions on the wage issue to a later stage.

The union's other compromise was on the number of working hours - where it settled for 45 hours instead of the initial demand of 40 hours.

"The company did not improve its offer of 7,8percent and didn't commit on job security for the contract workers who are on strike. We demanded 9,5percent but later compromised by being willing to take 8,5percent but the company still didn't move its offer."

Masemola also made a call to anyone who claimed that his union members were engaged in violent acts - including those who were arrested during "peaceful demonstrations" - to present Fawu with some evidence before associating the union with unlawful acts.

"The union reiterates its call, also made in a joint media statement with the employers at the CCMA, that we do not condone violence as it will make us lose public sympathy to our noble cause."

ABI managing director John Ustas said a "significant" number of workers returned to work yesterday - despite the union's indication that the strike would continue.

Employees were now voting with their feet, Ustas said.

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