BIG-BEND: Obed Jele, the Secretary General of the Swaziland Agricultural Plantations Workers Union(SAPWU) said the Illovo management tried to force them as a Union to agree to the 8% offer with conditions that were not favorable to the workers.
Speaking to this Swaziland News on Wednesday, the Secretary General said the conditions attached to the 8% forced them to reject the offer particularly because it would have worsened the lives of the workers.
“The first condition suggests that the employer wanted us to sign that the ‘no work no pay’ would apply and we couldn’t sign for that in the agreement because the management has been saying that’s the prerogative of the employer. Secondly, the employer said they wanted to follow company policies and procedures and again, we couldn’t agree on that as part of the 8% percent for a period of two(2) years. It should be noted that policies and the law are two different things, company policies and procedures are established by the employer. So by trying to convince us to sign the agreement, the employer wanted to create an impression that we agreed to the policies and what if some of the policies to which we are opposed are created after signing the agreement?”, said the Secretary General.
Meanwhile, the Management of Illovo released a statement saying they had been engaging in good faith with the Union since the start of the 2021/22 wage negotiations.
“The deadline for the union's response to the company’s conditional offer of 8% for 2 years was initially 17:00 on Thursday, 11 November 2021 and management agreed to open the offer again to expire on Friday, 12 November 2021. We are disappointed to confirm that the Union failed to respond within the timelines which included the extension to Friday, 12 November 2021. This means that as per the official process, management has reverted to the previous final offer of 5%”, read the statement in part.
Illovo workers rejected 8% tabled with conditions.