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Last updated: 06 June 2016
FAWU Declares Dispute Against Grain Employers
6 June 2016
The negotiations between various unions representing more than 9500 workers employed in the grain industry and the Grain Bargaining Council kicked off in February 2016 and deadlocked a couple of months thereafter. The situation left FAWU with no other option but to declare a formal dispute between the parties. The dispute remained unresolved despite mediation and strike action was due to commence on Friday, 10 June 2016.
FAWU demanded a 9% wage increase or R 550 across the board, whichever is greatest. The employers were offering increases far below the desired demand. The unions actually demanded that these poor workers earn a minimum wage of R 4500.00, bearing in mind the high cost of living today. Workers were also demanding an annual guaranteed 13th cheque in conjunction to the performance bonus which goes to the best performer. Other demands included a housing allowance of R 850 with the employers disagreeing on the issue. Grain workers demanded better providend and funeral benefits which included joint or shared minimum contribution of 8% and 2% as well as for wage disparities to be addressed though a proper and scientific exercise. FAWU has also had to endure the intransigent nature of theses employers, their bad faith bargaining methods and their undermining of the set bargaining process frame work.
Negotiations primarily focused on those employed by the main eight employers (OVK, VKB, SUIDWES, Senwes, Grain Field Chickens, GWK, NWK and OBARO).
Workers in mainly the North West; Limpopo; Mpumalanga; Gauteng; Free State and Northern Cape Provinces will participate. The union had at all times made it clear that it remained open and willing to engage in any efforts towards resolving the impasse. The strike was narrowly averted when the parties reached a wage agreement before workers could embark on strike.