Robertson Winery’s 14-week strike ends

Union agrees to 8% but says industry is forever changed

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Photo of a sign name
A sign board entering Robertson. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

The 14-week strike at Robertson Winery has ended. Workers will return to work on Monday after conceding to an 8% or R400 increase (whichever is greater).

Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) secured backdated pay to 8 August 2016 and a full annual bonus.

The agreement makes provision for increases in 2017 and 2018 of CPI (consumer price index) plus 1.5% and 1% respectively.

Under the agreement, disciplinary action will not be taken against the strike leaders, according to CSAAWU.

The strike was accompanied by boycotts and garnered international attention.

In a statement, CSAAWU said, that although they had not achieved the R8,500 a month demand, the wine industry would never be the same.

CSAAWU has previously said that the company’s workers earn between R2,900 and R3,500 a month before deductions. According to Robertson Winery the cost-to-company of an employee following the strike agreement will now be R4,264 per month. 

“Some of the poorest paid workers in this country have mobilised a strike for more than three months in a sector where strikes are unheard of,” stated CSAAWU.

Robertson Winery Managing Director Anton Cilliers said CSAAWU’s demand for an increase of 150% was “implausible and impossible to consider”.

He said management was “committed to the overall improvement of the lives of all our employees”, and that employees received free medical facilities and access to housing loans and subsidies “where applicable”.

Cilliers said that the winery will engage with CSAAWU to improve its relationship.

TOPICS:  Labour unions

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