The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) has expressed their concerns that government continues to ban and unban alcohol without consulting affected stakeholders.
In a statement, FAWU said government continues to treat the sector unfairly.
Mayoyo Mngomezulu, the union’s general secretary, said the government should not treat its decision of banning alcohol as the ultimate solution in the process of curbing the spread of coronavirus.
“Notwithstanding that some of our members had to endure a 10% salary cut while others being retrenched in the earlier alcohol ban, this current ban has led already to initiatives by employers that threatens jobs through retrenchment of workers in the brewing companies.
“For the government not take unemployment seriously when making decisions that are contributing to unemployment, goes to show that the country will ultimately join the highest proportion of the unemployed in our population as already the 1.8 million unemployed is added by the growing number of retrenchments since the beginning of Covid-19.”
Mngomezulu says they have consulted with the government in the past as to where funds should be sourced for purposes of addressing the fiscal deficit. Explaining that in 2020 due to illicit trade of alcohol, there was a loss of over R6 billion and other sectors, counterfeit goods of about R1 billion per annum.
The union believes that the billions lost could have mitigated deficit on government spending but would also have avoided the sourcing of loans from international banks.
In FAWU’s list of demands for employers and government, they included a meeting between themselves and all relevant stakeholders in the alcohol sector.
They also want an interim package fund to assist workers in the alcohol industry and for the informal economy.
Employers, they said, must redirect reserve funds to preserve existing jobs and that all retrenched workers must be given first preference to return back to work. They also want to discuss a wealth tax but more importantly, the general secretary wants the government to listen to the people affected in the alcohol industry.