The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is concerned about the arrogance displayed by the Sugar Manufacturing and Refinery Bargaining Council in the wage negotiations.

A deadlock was declared by other unions (FAWU and UASA), who are currently the majority unions in this sector. To our surprise the employer is refusing to continue the engagement with AMCU, sighting that AMCU is a minority in the sector. The employer would rather follow the CCMA process which is a result of a deadlock reached.

This attitude by the employer is not in line with good faith engagements. Also, in terms of the bargaining council constitution, there is no provision that says that the employer must negotiate with majority unions only. As long as the union qualifies to be party to the bargaining process as outlined by the bargaining council constitution that union shares the equal rights as any other union that forms part of the bargaining council.

AMCU condemns in the strongest terms the behaviour displayed by parties involved in the negotiations as they are advancing narrow, selfish interests at the expense of workers.

AMCU firmly believes that there’s still room for negotiating and views this deadlock as reckless and a failure to consider worker’s interests and demands.

Workers in the sugar industry are some of the most oppressed in South Africa, with many earning paltry wages with no reasonable benefits compared to other sectors. This despite the industry raking in more profits than mining and other sectors.

AMCU urges stakeholders concerned to respect all rights of parties involved.

Among others, AMCU is demanding that workers receive R8,600 in housing allowance, all workers at A2 level must earn a minimum of R11,200 a month, and employers must offer transport services to all workers both to and from work. We also demand that workers who have worked for five years should receive a long service award of R5 000 and that pregnant women should be given maternity leave with full pay.

AMCU remains committed to the negotiations and to ensuring that workers’ demands are realised.


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Siphumelele Nene
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