Infuriated employees at Grain Field Chickens employees are on strike for a third week after their demands for a salary increase have still not been met.
The workers are demanding an increase of R600 per month and a 13th cheque every December.
However, the employer VKB Group said they would not increase their salaries as expected.
Riaan Gerritzen, executive manager in industrial relations and benefits, said it was unfortunate that the company could not immediately attend to the workers’ demands. He suggested that they be granted more time, for the period of April 1 2023 to March 31 2025.
Gerritzen said in the first year, job grades T1 to T4 would receive R500 and a further R100 at the beginning of January 2024, while job grades T5 to T11 would only receive R500.
“Year two, job grades T1 to T4 – 6% or R500 on cost-to-company, whichever is the greater and a further R100 on January 1 2025. Job grades T5 to T11 – 6% or R500 on cost-to-company, whichever is the greater,” reads the letter.
The National Union of Food, Beverage, Wine, Spirits and Allied Workers (NUFBWSAW) general secretary, Nqobile Tshabangu, said employees are determined to strike until their demands are met.
“This fight is for the benefit of all employees because it is not only our union members who want this money.
“You can imagine that these people are not getting paid for all the time they refrain from their employment posts, so this is important for them and for us. We cannot step back just because of a response that says our demands cannot be met,” said Tshabangu.
He said they were willing to exhaust all options to win this battle.
They have been supported by the community and local political parties as they wake up each day to picket outside Grain Field Chickens.
“This is not only a strike facing one firm, it is a national strike and this is why it is so important to us to win. More families will be receiving this salary increase, which will help with achieving many things at home. Inflation keeps going up and they need this increase. All support is still welcome,” said Tshabangu.