SABMiller ABI complains of violence, workers threaten more strikes

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags South africa Strike action Coca-cola

SABMiller is facing the possibility that strikes at its soft drink operations in South Africa could spread to the beer division if no deal is reached tomorrow.

Around 2,700 workers at SAB subsidiary Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI) in South Africa began strike action on December 22.

Employees at the Coca-Cola bottler are pushing management to improve its offer of a 7.8 per cent wage increase, secure a 45-hour working week and guarantee overtime pay for weekend work.

More strikes

If these demands are not met at meeting with AMI management tomorrow, Food and Allied Workers Union is threatening further strike action.

In a statement released today, the union said: “If there is no agreement reached tomorrow, then the strike action will continue indefinitely.”

Added to this, the union expects other workers to join the strikes in sympathy. “Notices of secondary strike have been sent to the beer division of SAB Ltd and to the other three bottling companies of coca cola products in South Africa (Coca Cola Fortune, Coca Cola Canners and Coca Cola Shanduka).”

Violent strikes

SABMiller was able to comment before publication but a report in Bloomberg said the company has complained about of “escalating levels of violence” since the strike began.

Bloomberg quoted a statement from the company saying: “We do not believe that extending the industrial action to other companies would be in the best interests of employees or the industry, having seen with dismay the high level of violence and intimidation which is now the hallmark of the strike at ABI.”

SABMiller said violence so far includes petrol bomb attacks on delivery vehicles, assaults on non-striking employees and intimidatory calls to families.

South Africa is a crucial market for SABMiller accounting for around a sixth of its revenue, and over a quarter of EBIT in 2008.

Related topics Markets SABMiller

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