Chips are down at Simba as workers prepare to strike

The strike will start on Thursday April 19, with up to 600 workers are expected to participate.

The strike will start on Thursday April 19, with up to 600 workers are expected to participate.

Workers at Simba Chips in Isando are preparing to strike against the company for its alleged attempts to contravene labour laws by unilaterally changing their conditions of employment.

The company, which is part of multinational PepsiCo South Africa, has allegedly colluded with labour-broking company Adcorp Blu to evade the requirements of section 198 of the Labour Relations Act, which says that after a three-month period a labour-broker worker is the employee of the company, in this case Simba.

The notice of the strike was sent to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on Monday and the strike will start on Thursday April 19, with up to 600 workers are expected to participate.

According to a statement from Simba Workers Forum and the Casual Workers Advice Office, in response to workers’ demands that their conditions of employment be restored — including their transport allowances, salaries and roles – Simba’s strategy has been to delay the legal process as much as possible, intimidate and victimise the workers in order to demobilise them and to change the way production is managed in order to undermine the legal claims of the workers.

The statement says that the strike forms a longer struggle at Simba.

It says that the sexual harassment is also rife at the Isando manufacturing facility and that women are discriminated against.

“Women are forced to work in the cold storage areas when they are pregnant and they are put on night shift all the time, which puts their safety at risk in the plant and during their travels between work and home,” the statement reads.

UPDATE

The Mail & Guardian reached out to Simba and Adcorp Blu and both companies said that they are not in a position to share any further information at this stage as the parties are in negotiations.

A formal release will be issued on conclusion of these negotiations.

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Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit both subs and writes for the Mail & Guardian. She joined the M&G after completing her master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Cape Town. She is interested in the literature of the contemporary black diaspora and its intersection with queer aesthetics of solidarity. Her recent work considers the connections between South African literary history and literature from the rest of the Continent. Read more from Sarah Smit

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