Coca-Cola Workers met in port city of Durban, South Africa

Nearly 600 Coca-Cola System workers met in the port city of Durban in the east coast of South Africa on the 27th September 2008.
Comrade Bhasopa Ngobeni from Amalgated Beverages Industries, the soft division of the South African Breweries Ltd (ABI), chaired the meeting and he gave a brief background of this concept of integrating all Coca Cola Systems Operations in South Africa in order for them to bargain collectively. He informed the delegates that this is the brainchild of one of the finest leaders that Fawu in its history has ever produced, the late Cde George Nene who was the first ABI national shop steward as well as first national shop steward in South Africa.

He appreciated the effort made by all delegates to be part of such an historic event and appealed to them to make sure that discussions are productive and are structured in a programmatic way as to ensure that this dream becomes a reality.
The General Secretaryof the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) Katishi Masemola addressed the meeting and explained for the benefit of delegates the reason why ABI had to have a (separate) meeting before the main CONASCO meeting. The reason being that ABI had to conduct their mandating conference in preparation of their wage negotiations which are about to start soon. He again thanked the delegates for having been so tenacious in making sure that their general meeting becomes successful.

Heappeal to the delegates and their leadership that next time no effort should be spared in making sure that there is a better coordination and that better planning is put into this activity.

The General Secretary then informed the delegates about the involvement as well as logistical and financial support that IUF continues to give unto this initiative. He reflected on discussions that have been taking place in meetings held in Atlanta that dealt with issues affecting workers of Coca Cola System in South Africa.

The FAWU General Secretary reflected in detail the impact of ‘precarious employment’ and the need to unite workers of the system in South Africa. Unity is paramount, he said. He then informed the delegates of the proposal that has been discussed with the shop stewards from the four (4) Coca Cola Operations in South Africa ie Coca Cola Canners, ABI, Coca Cola Shanduka and Coca Cola Fortune.

The proposal that has been discussed with the leadership referred to above is that concrete plans must be adopted now, which will culminate in us negotiating (centrally) under one roof by 2010. Worker leadership from all Coca Cola System in South Africa has to engage the employers from all Coca Cola System’s operations in South Africa in preparation of that objective.

“As the employers are very likely going to resist this initiative, members must be prepared to fight back in such a way that if there is an industrial action, there must be what we refer to as a Coke Draught”, the General Secretary said.

“That is not happening at the moment because we are divided. That is exactly when solidarity in action will be realized. Then we request you to support this idea and mandate the negotiators to engage the employers on this question. There will be resistance indeed, but we must be combat ready to engage the employers”.

The unfolding process will have to culminate into a concrete plan for 2010 world cup.
Cde Bhasopa Ngobeni then allowed the delegates to ask question flowing from the General Secretary’s address, and when all those questions had been asked and answered, the delegates committed themselves unequivocally behind the idea, thus giving the leadership a mandate to pursue this objective.

Cde Cuana Angula, the Coordinator of IUF in the Africa Region addres the delegates. He appealed to Coca Cola workers to be united more than ever before. He then confirmed that the IUF, have donated an amount of R 17 000.00 towards this historic event.
Cde Cuana Angula appreciated the cordial relations that exist between FAWU and the IUF.

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