Workers at SUNBAKE down tools in Polokwane

Bread producer SUNBAKE in Polokwane, Limpopo, says its workers’ wage strike has disrupted production. Workers affiliated to the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa started the action on Monday.

They are demanding a R600 salary increase across the board. The employer is only willing to pay R370.

The workers accuse the company of nepotism and contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The strike has affected the distribution of bread in several areas in the province.

Over 200 workers at Sunbake Bakery took to the streets on Monday after the employer failed to meet their salary demands.

The strike has affected the distribution of bread at depots in Bela-Bela, Lephalale, Senwabarwana, and Loius Trichardt.

They are also demanding that the company pays out dividends of shares they invested with the company since 2010.

GIWUSA which represents majority of workers at SUNBAKE says the employer is playing hardball and refuses to negotiate with the unions.

“We are demanding a R600 salary adjustment but the management of SUNBAKE does not want to come to the table and also our employees are forced to work long hours without being paid their overtime money another thing is our employees are working without proper protective clothing and sometimes they hire people we don’t know where they are from.”

SUNBAKE says it is offering a 6.9 %  wage increase. It says extreme inflationary pressures and Eskom’s ongoing rolling blackouts have affected the turnover of the business.

Some affected workers at SUNBAKE say they do not earn enough to cover their basic needs.

“We can’t afford to pay school fees for our children we also can’t afford to buy groceries even rent and transportation. I wake up at three o’clock every morning but here at work we are forced to drive broken trucks and when we request the management to fix the trucks they refuse. Now our hips are in pain because of these trucks,” says one of the workers.

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Source: SABC News (