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AMCU still willing to negotiate in sugar wage dispute

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The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has condemned the wage negotiations deadlock in the sugar industry, says it is willing to negotiate.

AMCU released a statement on Thursday, 19 April 2018, stating the union is surprised that the employer is refusing to continue negotiations with them as they are a minority union.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) and the United Association of South Africa (UASA) reached a wage deadlock with employers at the Sugar Manufacturing and Refinery Bargaining Council earlier this week.

They had demanded a 10% wage increase and benefits including a provident fund for seasonal and full time workers as well as protective clothing. AMCU is demanding a R8600 housing allowance for its workers and a minimum wage of R11 200.

Speaking to Political Analysis South Africa on Friday, 20 April 2018, AMCU Treasurer, Jimmy Gama, said the union decided not to combine their demands with the other unions because they have received a different mandate from their members. Gama further noted that the combining of wage demands by different unions is not provided for in the constitution of the Sugar Manufacturing and Refinery Bargaining Council.

“We are not going to combine the list of demands with other unions because we work on the mandate of the members as AMCU,” he said.

“The employers therefore said that they will not be responding to our demands because we did not agree to follow the old practice which is unconstitutional,” he added.

Gama said union is disappointed that the employer did not to meet with them, as they believe there is still room for negotiations to continue.

“We have said as AMCU we still believe that there’s room for negotiations because the employers have put on the table 5% on a salary increase and we have revised our position as well from the initial demands,” he said.

“We have a problem with the way the employers are conducting themselves…they have an obligation to meet with us as a stakeholder to meet common ground,” Gama added.

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