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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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COSATU Today  |  COSATU Press Statements

Press Statement on Provocation and Intimidation of Striking ABI Workers by ABI Management and Potential Abuse of State Resources by Some SAPS Leadership

31 December 2009 09h00

The Food and Allied Workers’ Union [FAWU] wish to call on ABI management to desist from provoking refrain from intimidating our members during picketing and other protest demonstrations. The information at our disposal regarding the alleged assault of a manager at the ABI Pretoria demonstration suggest that management representatives crossed the picket line manned by police officers and went straight into a platoon of slogan-chanting striking workers and manhandled a shop steward who refused to accept a copy of court interdict.

In defence, the shop steward pushed the arrogant manager back and in the process workers slightly assaulted a manager who was not suppose to be among striking workers in the first instance. Police officials who were undermined by these two managers could not intervene at that stage because these two simply did not ask for escort when they went on a provocation and intimidation exercise.

We condemn the (mis)behavior by these two management representatives and call on the directors of SAB Ltd to advice their management team not to allow the success of our strike to frustrate them such that they employ intimidation and provocation tactics.

Meanwhile, we (FAWU) call on the Minister of Police, N Mthethwa, and National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, to investigate possible abuse or misuse of state/police resources by some in the local (Pretoria and Midrand) or regional (Gauteng) SAPS leadership. It cannot be right that police helicopters will be called, presumably by management, to fly above striking workers yet the dispatched police officials on the ground were not informed or did not see the need for such sheer show of power by members of SAPS.

We have every reason to believe that somewhere in the chain, there could have been an abuse of resources and we remain firm in this view until we are convinced that there was a threat posed by striking workers and that such a threat was large enough to warrant such a heavy-handed response on the part of SAPS air unit.

In any case, 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 (i.e Coca Cola Fortune, Coca Cola Canners and Coca Cola Shanduka). This seven-day notice lapses on the 06th January and our members in those companies will be at liberty to embark on secondary strike and other protest activities like picketing, demonstrations and marches.

In addition, from the 06th of January, Coca Cola workers across the world, under the ambit of International Union of Food and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), will be mounting solidarity actions in support of ABI Coke workers. This will continue leading up to a meeting of the World-wide Coca Cola Workers Alliance Steering Committee meeting, of which the General Secretary of FAWU is a member, on the 04th and 5th February 2010 in Geneva Switzerland.

Please call General Secretary Katishi Masemola on 082 467 2509 for more information.

Katishi Masemola
FAWU General Secretary