The National Treasurer of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), Jimmy Gama, has called on bosses in the Sugar industry to improve conditions of workers.

Addressing AMCU’s three regions in KwaZulu-Natal last weekend at Tongaat Hulett in Durban’s Midlands Region, Gama said workers in the sector deserved not only decent wages but also allowances their bosses were already enjoying.

“As we go to the bargaining council, we will be telling your employers that all workers should receive R8,600 in housing allowance, all workers at A2 level to earn a minimum of R11,200 a month, and offer transport services to all workers both to and from work,” he said outlining the list of demands.

“We will also tell employers that workers who have worked for five years should get a long service award of five thousand rand. We will also tell employers to give maternity leave to pregnant women with full salary,” added Gama.

Currently, workers must wait until they have worked in a company for 25 years to receive a long service award.

The Treasurer General said workers deserve better wages and benefits as Sugar industry bosses rake in more money that than their counterparts in mining sector.

“The Sugar industry is making more profits than mining- the platinum and gold industry is currently making far less profits than the Sugar industry. This in turn is translating to what bosses are earning and not their workers.”

Gama said it was only AMCU which had the capacity to better the lives of workers as other unions were in bed with the employers adding that the Union’s record spoke for itself.

“When we got into the platinum sector, workers were earning R4,500 with those working underground earning R5,000 and now the lowest earner in the sector is paid R11,000,” he said.

“As AMCU, we always stand with workers, during the platinum strike that lasted for five months, as AMCU we paid for workers’ mortgage and instalments of cars to some. We also gave food parcels to workers and paid school fees for their children. Its only AMCU which can do this.”

AMCU recently extended its foothold in the Sugar sector, bringing the number of members in the sector to about 1200. At the moment, only 4500 workers in the sector belong to unions.