Free State-based chicken supplier rocked by strike over wages

Sunday World reports that Grain Field Chickens in Reitz in eastern Free State is under shutdown as employees continue with the strike over salary increases. The chicken-producing factory employees complain that they are being underpaid yet overworked. Workers’ representative Mamokete Mokoena said the workers demand R600 salary increase. Grain Field Chickens management promised R500 pay hikes from April, however, the company has failed  to fulfil its promise.

“We embarked on this march because we realised that our cries are not being heard. We want our R600 increase in full,” said Mokoena. “Management promised to give us R500 and add the R100 in January. It is unfair because what we are asking for is not even a lot of money. “This company has been treating us inhumanly with unfair dismissals and delayed appeals. “We are 45-hour workers, working nine hours everyday but we are still forced to work extra hours on Saturdays. If you fail to come to work, you are slapped with a warning. “The management is also not considerate, because they would announce weekend shifts at short notice.”

Mokoena said the R500 increase has been unfairly distributed among the workers, with some having received it and others still waiting for the increase. Tseko Motholo, SACP executive committee member, said he was heartbroken to see employees of a big agricultural production company, which supplies chicken around the country, being denied a pay increase. “These people work hard every day to provide quality chicken for customers, yet with their salaries cannot even afford to have chicken meals every day,” said Motholo.

“It is unacceptable that they are only asking for R600 but the company is not willing to budge and give them this increase. “I suspect that the union involved is getting bribes from management. Yesterday, they arrived here in their luxurious vehicles and only spoke to management. “They did not even give their members any update [about their demands], they just spoke to management and left.” He said the workers are not backing down until everyone receives a pay hike.

by Boitumelo Kgobotlo

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