About 220 workers have vowed to continue striking over a 150% wage increase. They are also dissatisfied with the disparity between the wages of white and coloured workers at the winery.
According to the workers, "the white workers at the winery are earning more, even if they do the same work,” said Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) general-secretary Trevor Christians.
The union has requested the winery’s financial statements to determine if the winery could afford to pay the workers more and if the allegations of income disparity are true.
In a statement, the winery said that it was willing to hold a meeting between the company’s auditors and a suitably qualified and accredited chartered accountant nominated by CSAAWU, but that there should be no disclosure of the winery’s full financial statements.
The winery added all of its labour practices were audited by the Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association, which ensures employment practices and standards are benchmarked against standards set by the International Labour Organisation.
“Robertson Winery remains confident that the present wage dispute will finally be resolved through the process of constructive engagement and negotiation between the union and the company,” said CEO Anton Cilliers.
As the strike enters its second month, workers have been without their wages for a month and find themselves in a difficult situation.
“The local and international community has provided wonderful support for our workers in the form of monetary donations and food parcels,” said Christians.