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Media Centre | COSATU Press Statements
DISPUTE BETWEEN SAB AND FAWU
Issued by: Congress of South African Trade Unions
DISPUTE BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES AND FAWU VICTORY OF THE NEW CONSTITUTION
The National day of action by the Trade Union has resulted in the souring of relationship between the Parties. The dispute relates to the reaction by the South African Breweries on FAWU's support for the strike against the Lock Out clause.
On the 29th April Management of SAB issued a notice to all employees stating that employees that will not report for duty will loose pay for the Holiday i.e. 1 May 1996, as they motivate this on the basis of a clause in the Substantive Agreement, which relates to individual absenteeism. We wrote to management on the same day and advised that their action was unacceptable and the union will take action with its members if the company implemented this threat which believed that its was intended to intimidate workers not to support the strike.
A dispute was declared with the company on this matter and notice for overtime ban has been issued.
In the dispute meeting held on the 7th May 1996, a deadlock was raced by the parties as not agreement was reached on the approach to the resolution of the dispute. The company wanted the Union to agree to refer the interpretation of clause 18.7 to arbitration. The clause reads as follows;
"If a worker is absent from work without authorization on the day immediately preceding or following a company holiday, he/she shall not be paid for that company holiday, Unless he/she is able to substantiate his/her absence with a reason acceptable to management."
It can be clearly seen from the above quote that this clause deals with individual absenteeism and was never intended for strikes or stay away, which such action is collective and no individual worker will have duty to substantiate his reason as stated in the clause. If a worker does substantiate he/she may be subjected to disclose employees that were involved to influence the participation of other workers in the strike action.
The reaction by SAB is a clear indication of what they feel about the position taken by the Labour movement on the Lock Out clause, Property clause and education Clause as per the constitutional negotiations. The Union does not care about SAB minority racist, we would fight for the rights of the workers and we will ensure that real transformation takes place at SAB. The National Shop stewards coordinators have decided to recommend to workers that Rolling Mass Action start for the 14 May 1996, with the following Actions.
1. National Overtime Ban 2. Demonstration at all Plants
3. National Day of Action: Marches to Regional offices and Head Offices and Johannesburg stock Exchange. 4. Work Stoppages and Go Slow 5. National tactical defiance of any interdict
We believe that SAB is not Honest and can not be trusted, because of their deliberate misinterpretation of the clause that was inserted to deal with the problem of individual absenteeism. This is a result of certain Managers who think because they have studied law at University they will make fools out of the workers on simple matters like this one. Further it must be pointed out that there is no absolute reason for the company to deduct pay for the workers for what they would have paid in any way, or if it was not a holiday workers would have been at work because the strike action was called only for one day.
The adoption of the new constitution today 08 May 1996 is a blow to South African Breweries, because the clause that has made them to punish workers has been removed for the NEW CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. The FOOD AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION welcomes the adoption of the new constitution and believe that this will go a long way to address the apartheid damage caused by the constitution of the past Government.
Although we welcome this constitution, we have concern about the PROPERTY AND EDUCATION clauses which we believe that the ANC has compromised too much to create confusion and allow the minorities to cling to the privileges granted by apartheid.
This clause has fundamentally removed the power of the state to implement reform in regard to the natural resources and limits the power to water and related reform. It is going to be a battle in the constitutional court, based on the provisions of section 36 (1). We therefore believe that whilst the compromise was necessary it should not have been on the basis of the word relating to NATURAL RESOURCES.
We are also not happy that the Afrikaner groups have been promised single medium schools at the expense of the TAX payers moneys. No school must be dedicated to one RACIAL GROUP as this is promoting racialism and nothing else. Politicians can argue that any parent whether black, Brown or white who wants to take a child to an Afrikaans school may do so, this will be subject of constitutional court as the parents with resources will challenge this provision on the basis of reasonableness and Equity. The TAX PAYERS moneys are going to be truly wasted in this area and this is what we should refer to as the GRAVY TRAIN OF THE NATIONAL PARTY, trying to please to those white Afrikaners in places like Potgietersrus.
Our people will have to fight this type of apartheid privileges to groups that do not want to reconcile and be part of a NEW SOUTH AFRICA.
LOCK OUT CLAUSE
The battle with the employers continues as we have managed to win the removal of the LOCK OUT clause from the constitution has been successful. The message to all workers is that Mobilization should start to remove the LOCK OUT CLAUSE form the LABOUR RELATIONS ACT OF 1995 and this will bring real balance of power between employers and Labour. The power route will ensure that refusal by employers to accede to worker demands is not dependent on scab labour but the survival of the fittest.
We salute the workers for their fight and support for the legitimate demands of fair worker rights.
We call on all our members and Labour movement to support the imminent action to be taken by SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES workers in their fight against reactionary minority racist bosses.
Regions: Transvaal: P.O. Box 9451, Johannesburg 2000 Natal: P.O. Box 18109, Dalbridge 4014 E. Cape: P.O. Box 4097, Korsten 6014 W. Cape: P.O. Box 234, Salt River 7925 O.F.S./N. Cape: P.O. Box 21072, Heidedal 9306
ISSUED BY : FOOD AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION
SIGNED BY : ERNEST BUTHELEZI ASSISANT GENERAL SECRETARY
contact No: 082 450 9593 or office as above