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Planned AB InBev job cuts shock trade union

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Published Jan 24, 2017


Johannesburg - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Monday said it was alarmed and deeply concerned by the ongoing jobs losses in a number of economic sectors.

This comes after Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer, began a voluntary severance programme to reportedly let go of more than 1 000 managers in its South African operations, following its $98.38 billion (R1.33 trillion) takeover of SABMiller last year.

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Cosatu called on the government to do something about unemployment and put measures in place to stem the tide of the ongoing retrenchments.

“We are troubled by the reports that AB InBev has offered voluntary severance packages to some of its middle managers, despite its commitments on post-merger employment,” Cosatu said.

“This follows AngloGold Ashanti’s announcement that it plans to retrench 849 workers in all its operations in South Africa; and the jobs carnage currently taking place in the poultry industry.”

Cosatu said it had been warning that while investment in South Africa through mergers and acquisitions had increased, these investments had resulted in the loss of jobs over time in the acquired companies.

Read also: NUM temporarily saves Anglogold Ashanti jobs

“The AB InBev merger has resulted in retrenchments by a company that has been solidly growing and that has not undertaken any retrenchment exercise in decades,” Cosatu said. “While foreign direct investment is to be welcomed, it has a negative impact on the economy, in particular through repatriation of profits, such as the payment of dividends.”

Cosatu said the jobs crisis called for an activist government that would deliver on the promise of making sure that every cent spent by it creates jobs, and that would also have a hands on approach in the economy.

“The government needs to find ways of dismantling the legacy of concentration and domination of the South African economy by a few firms, and that has left very little space for small firms to succeed and create jobs for the 9 million unemployed workers.

“Cosatu wants to see the government addressing the issue of high administered prices such as electricity and transport costs and the non-availability of cheap finance for small businesses.”


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