Johannesburg - The Congress of the People (Cope) on Thursday urged Amalgamated
Beverage Industries and its workers to find a solution to the wage
dispute that has continued for over three weeks.
"We believe that ABI and the union leadership should return to
negotiations and engage one another in good faith, showing
transparency on both sides of the negotiating table," spokesperson
Ndzipho Kalipa said in a statement.
ABI employees aligned with the Food and Allied Workers' Union
(Fawu) downed tools in December over demands for a 9.5 percent wage
increase against the employer's offer of 8.3 percent. They were
also demanding better working conditions.
The union said that the strike would continue indefinitely,
until the employer improved its offer.
Cope said the two parties should find a speedily solution as the
country was still recovering from the recession.
"To reach an amicable settlement we must remind both parties
that we have not yet overcome the economic challenges of the
recession and the credit crunch," said Kalipa.
During the strike, ABI said, its trucks and employees' property
were damaged by protesting workers. The union then "distanced
itself" from the violence.
During a violent protest 39 people were arrested on Tuesday and
another 89 on Wednesday.
"Noting that violent protests have escalated all over the
country in recent times, we urge Fawu leadership to call for calm
and ask its members to refrain from intimidation, vandalism and
The party also expressed its disappointment with ABI's decision
to apply for a court interdict against striking workers.
"The court interdict against its [ABI] own employees does not
Salary negotiations between ABI and Fawu were postponed to
January 13, pending investigations into the shooting and the arrest
of striking workers.