'Confusion' surrounds SABMiller strike

The company has asked the union to conduct a ballot as its members continue to report for work.

SABMiller Logo. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - SABMiller has raised doubts about whether a strike for higher wages currently playing out at its South African operations has been called by its employees.

The company has now asked union leaders to hold a strike ballot.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), which represents about 1,000 workers at SABMiller, said it had downed tools on Monday.

It is protesting against a seven percent wage hike and the performance-related payment system.

The union is calling for the system to be scrapped and says it believes its members deserve more money.

But SABMiller's Robyn Chalmers says many of the Fawu members continue to report for duty.

"There is an uncertainty about the reasons and the objectives of the strike. This is due to the lack of clarity around Fawu's demands, so we have encouraged the union to conduct a ballot among its members. We believe the majority of workers do want to continue working."

Fawu General Secretary Katishi Masemola disagrees.

"The strike ballot is our own internal arrangement. Should we doubt that members will support the strike or there are divisions on whether to go on strike or not, we normally conduct a ballot."