Workers on strike at another PE drug company

Fresenius Kabi employees down tools

Photo of striking workers outside factory

Workers at Fresenius Kabi pharmaceutical company are on strike. Photo: Joseph Chirume

By Joseph Chirume

26 August 2016

Workers at Fresenius Kabi pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Port Elizabeth downed tools on Tuesday, in protest against the use of a labour broker and planned retrenchments.

This is the second drug manufacturing company in Port Elizabeth to be hit by strike action in the last weeks. Workers at Aspen have been on strike since the end of July.

Workers accuse management of hiring a labour broker, Siyasebenza, without consulting them. They also oppose a retrenchment programme which they say will affect both temporary and permanent staff.

The strikers, numbering nearly 250 out of the 500 said to be employed by Fresenius, are being led by the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu).

Ceppwawu shop steward, Laura Goliath said employees had been unhappy since the beginning of the year.

In a letter to workers signed by manager Willem Botha and human resources manager Carla Flesch the company said no final decisions had been made. The retrenchments were determined by operational needs and the need to comply with regulations about automated verification.

The Port Elizabeth factory was established in 2000. The company has branches in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Brazil, Taiwan and in some European countries.