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DairyBelle strike to intensify

Jan 11 2013 18:43
Farmworkers

Cosatu says they are mobilizing to intensify the DairyBelle strike, which will be linked with solidarity support of farmworkers in the Western Cape. Striking farmworkers. (Sapa)

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Cape Town - DairyBelle is bracing for further strike action following a seven-week-long protest that turned violent after workers demanded an 18% wage hike.

"We believe another march is planned for next week", the dairy producer said in a memorandum. It also called on the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu)  FAWU to confirm that the march will be peaceful.

Damages to the dairy producer's Bloemhof plant in the North West amounted to between R5m and R10m, while 11 workers were arrested and three injured after protest action turned violent, reported Business Day.

DairyBelle is offering an increase of just more than 6% to workers. Both parties have blamed each other for stalled negotiations.

"The feeling we get is that this particular union believes the way to get what it wants is to deploy violence. It is difficult to negotiate in this terrain," a DairyBelle senior representative, who wished to remain anonymous, told the news agency on Friday.

The Congress of South African Trade Union in the North West is preparing to intervene in the strike.

"We call on the employer to respond positively to the workers’ demands by making a better offer, and withdrawing its attitude of taking all the benefits that workers had for so many years, by Monday 14 January 2013 at the close of business," said Cosatu's provincial secretary Solly Phetoe in a statement.

"Failure to do that will mean that the strike will be intensified by Cosatu with support of the communities in the region," he said.

The strike started on December 3 and on December 31 company vehicles were attacked with stones and petrol bombs.


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