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Tiger Brands can’t guarantee job security when production resumes

The retail giant's reputation has been tarnished after it was identified as the source of the listeria bacteria in March this year.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Tiger Brands says it cannot guarantee that all jobs will be retained when production resumes at its factories.

The retail giant's reputation has been tarnished after it was identified as the source of the listeria bacteria in March this year.

They then recalled processed meat products and voluntarily stopped production at their Polokwane and Germiston facilities.

On Monday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that South Africa is no longer facing a listeriosis outbreak declaring cold meats safe to eat.

Tiger Brands' Mary-Jane Morifi says while production has been halted due to listeria found at its facilities, they have managed to keep the jobs of 1,500 of their affected employees.

“We used that opportunity to do the retraining and to use the employees to do the deep cleaning of the facilities.”

She says, however, there is no way to tell whether it will be necessary to keep all employees on board.

“This will be informed by what the volumes of production will be as we ramp up [production]. We are anticipating that the volumes are not going to be at the level that they were before the shutdown.”

Morifi says currently Tiger Brands is undergoing renovations and deep cleaning at its facilities and once that process is completed the Health Department will be invited to inspect the factories.

LAWSUIT

Lawyers for some of those affected by listeriosis say they are awaiting a government notice in order to be certified by the courts as the formal representative for all the victims.

Richard Spoor Attorneys has filed a class action lawsuit against Tiger Brands, whose two factories have been identified as the source of the listeriosis outbreak.

They would like Tiger Bands to compensate all the victims.

The law firm's Thamsanqa Malusi said: “We’re hoping that we can secure a meeting with the minister this week. If that happens and the minister gives a buy-in, then we’ll set the matter for next week. The court has given us assurances that once we’ve set the matter down, we’ll be able to get a court date the week following that.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)