19 February 2008, Beer taps at SAB's World of Beer ahead of Trevor manual's budget speach. Picture: Shayne Robinson XSR004

Johannesburg - The Food and Allied Workers' Union (Fawu) is concerned at a plan by SA Breweries' (SAB) to dismiss 300 staff, it said on Friday.

The SAB had served the union with a notice to consult in contemplation of the dismissals, said union spokeswoman Dominique Swartz.

“This has already sowed disbelief and shock among our members, who were informed at plant level since June 27,” she said.

Swartz said the union was viewing this as an attempt by SAB to deviate focus from the current stalling and hostile wage negotiations.

“The way the notice has been issued goes against the norms and shocked our members as we regarded SAB as a growing and profitable business,” she said.

The union said SAB was taking advantage of the current high unemployment rate and intended using cheap, outsourced labour.

“We will do all we can to save the jobs of our members and (will) engage with them further on Monday,” she said.

SAB spokeswoman Robyn Chalmers confirmed that about 285 people, predominantly from support functions, may be retrenched.

She said the company was implementing the next phase of its capability programme to ensure that it had the right skills, resources and experience to deliver on its business strategy.

“The programme was introduced in March to ensure a streamlined and efficient business. The aim was to identify positions that may have become redundant, where work was being duplicated as well as capability gaps that needed to be filled,” she said.

“Initially 71 employees were retrenched and the review has continued looking particularly at ways to free up internal resources to allow for a greater focus on market-facing activities.”

Chalmers said that those staff members not employed in other positions within the company would be assisted in applying for other jobs. - Sapa