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Union flexes its muscle over wage freeze at mussel processing plant

Gallo Group employees in Velddrif picketing after demands of 8% increase were rejected by their employee.

Gallo Group employees in Velddrif picketing after demands of 8% increase were rejected by their employee.

Published Mar 17, 2021

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Cape Town - More than 80 employees of a mussel processing company in Velddrif have gone on strike after a deadlock on wage negotiations between their employer, Gallo Group, and the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu).

The union is demanding an 8% wage increase for 81 employees while the Gallo Group is proposing a wage freeze.The strike entered its sixth day yesterday and the union has vowed to continue with the pickets until the demand is met.

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Fawu provincial organiser Patric Mrubata said this was the second year that the company had implemented a wage freeze.

“We have been in wage negotiations with the company from the beginning of February demanding an 8% wage increase from them but to date they have offered nothing. They have put 0% on the table for wage increases, which means a wage freeze.This will be the second year in a row that the company is implementing a wage freeze. In response to our demand the company said it had no business as its customers, which are mostly restaurants, were closed during the Covid-19 lockdown and had lost income.

“ Employees need the increase because of the ever increasing cost of living. Our members did not welcome this stance from the employer and mandated us to declare a wage dispute,” Mrubata said.

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Mrubata said the matter was referred to the CCMA.

“There was no favourable resolution to the matter as the company had nothing to put on the table but a wage freeze proposal. We did not accept it and as a result gave the employer a 48-hour notice for the industrial action.The employer has not called us to go back to the negotiating table,” he said.

Mrubata said the union would call off the picket when Gallo Group proposed an offer favourable to its members. He also said the union was willing to revise its initial wage proposal, in consultation with its members.

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Gallo Group managing director Schalk Visser declined to comment.

“It is not our intention to negotiate with our employees or their representatives through the press, we do not believe that it will be the right thing to do,” Visser said.

Cape Argus

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