Africa

South African brewers down tools over wages

File picture shows a comedian posing in a satirical T-shirt outside of the premises of the world's second largest beer brewer SABMiller in Cape Town on February 21, 2003

File picture shows a comedian posing in a satirical T-shirt outside of the premises of the world's second largest beer brewer SABMiller in Cape Town on February 21, 2003  (AFP/File)

Over 2,000 workers at SABMiller's South African affiliate embarked on an indefinite strike on Monday demanding a 9.5 percent wage increase, a union said.

"Nearly 2,300 workers from various SAB centres did not report for duty today," said Katishi Masemola, the general secretary of Food and Allied Union.

South African Breweries (SAB) -- the subsidiary of the world second largest brewer, SABMiller -- is offering a seven percent increase.

Masemola said wage negotiations with the company collapsed on Friday.

The firm said in a statement it was disappointing that the unions had decided to go on strike "over such a small difference in the wage position."

A total of 5,600 workers are employed in the company's beer division and the brewer said production had not been affected as a result of the strike.

SAB Managing Director, Mauricio Leyva, said that the firm would retain its seven percent offer, despite the strike.

He said the offer would push the average shift wages to around $1,800 a month, including allowances.

Several South African companies have been hit by industrial strikes over the last two months, spanning the mining, construction and transport sectors.

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