21 JANUARY 2020 – PRESS RELEASE: ELGIN POULTRY ABATTOIR PTY LTD EMPLOYEE STRIKE
We at Elgin Poultry Abattoir Grabouw are committed to the development and upliftment of our employees. The Company is a significant economic role player within the Grabouw Community, not only providing employment to over 500 people, but also supporting local initiatives such as the ThembaCare Patient Palliative Care Unit, as well as the Agape Centre for the care of children with special needs. Other Community support includes Animal Welfare and local Sport sponsorships.
In addition to occupational training and our internal Multi-Skilling Program, the Company has established a Learning Centre with a full- time educator, who together with the Elgin Learning Foundation, provides tuition and support to our employees in obtaining their ABET Level 4 and Matric qualifications at the Company’s expense. A qualified Information Technology teacher and a fully equipped Computer Centre have been provided to enable all interested employees to attain computer literacy and proficiency.
We have worked closely with our employees and together have built a Company all can be proud of.
Therefore, as a Company we regret the action taken by our employees last Thursday, 16 January 2020, in engaging on an illegal strike.
On 19 December 2019, the Employees of EPA embarked on an unlawful strike, where after a consultation meeting was held on 13 January 2020, with the following Parties present:
- Shop stewards
- Trade Union SACCAWU
- Department of Labour
- Department of Economic Development
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Community Safety
- Elgin Poultry Abattoir management representatives
As an outcome of this meeting it was agreed that the shop stewards, SACCAWU and Community members would consult on issues and grievances. Thereafter these would be handed over to the Department of Labour and the CCMA for investigation and further conciliation.
All parties agreed to this outcome.
However, on Thursday afternoon, 16 January 2020, the employees embarked on an unannounced, unlawful strike by downing tools and refusing to return to the workplace.
Repeated efforts on behalf of the Company to engage with them were disregarded, and letters giving them an opportunity to return to work were ignored.
As the demands of the strikers are focused on the desired removal of certain key staff members, rather than on valid grievances against Company policy or work practices, we have not been able to reach consensus with this group.
For the survival of the Company and the protection of its role within the Community, we have recruited currently unemployed people, who are in need of employment, to assist with production and operations.
We are striving towards and are committed to a peaceful and positive outcome and conclusion to this strike.