Vavi threatens to take down ABI billboards

COCA-COLA must withdraw from sponsoring the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup or face the wrath of its angry staff.

"We will take down all their billboards at 2010 events. It is in their interest to settle the strike at ABI and settle it today," Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said when he addressed striking ABI workers yesterday.

The workers marched to the offices of SABMiller, the parent company of ABI, on Jan Smuts Avenue yesterday to hand over a memorandum.

"We call on all South Africans to boycott all products of SAB and associated companies," Vavi said.

The mostly Food and Allied Workers' Union (Fawu) affiliated workers have been involved in a wage dispute with ABI since last month.

The two parties have deadlocked on wage increase, job security for all and the use of labour brokers.

Workers at the beer division of SA Breweries joined striking ABI workers in a protest march yesterday, Fawu said.

On Tuesday ABI showed journalists images of violence and intimidation, allegedly by striking workers.

ABI estimated that damage to property and vehicles during the month-long strike ran into hundreds of thousands of rands. More than 70 cases of intimidation of employees were recorded.

ABI is offering an across-the-board wage increase of 7,8percent, and a wage and benefits increase of 8,3percent. Fawu wants a 9,5percent wage increase. During the latest round of talks at the CCMA the union said it was willing to drop its demand to 8,5percent, which the company would not agree to.