NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa: Unions oppose SABMiller, AB Inbev deal


Posted on Thursday, 15 October 2015 14:10

South Africa: Unions oppose SABMiller, AB Inbev deal

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

Photo©ReutersSouth Africa's trade unions have criticised the imminent takeover of the country's largest brew SABMiller by AB Inbev saying it would affect job security for locals.

SABMiller, the world's second-largest beer maker, announced it had agreed to sell its shareholding to Anheuser-Busch (AB inBev), for about £68 billion (R1.4 trillion).

SABMiller was built on the back and by the hard work of the South African workers

The deal has been described as the "biggest merger in world brewer history".

However, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) said the deal would also erode South Africa's tax base.

A Fawu offcial Katishi Masamola told The Africa Report that union members were worried that they would lose their jobs.

"We know that AB-BEV wants to reduce its cost structure in South Africa and job losses would be inevitable," he said.

"The argument that this transaction will not lead to job losses, as SABMiller is largely in the developing world and North America and ABInbev is largely in the developed world and Europe, is rejected as dishonest because there would be rationalisation of operations".

Fawu intends to make a submission to South Africa's country's Competition Commission raising objections to the deal described as the biggest foreign direct investment in South Africa if it goes ahead.

Masemola said the union was supposed to meet the SAB management to discuss the issue on Thursday but the meeting was postponed at the last minute.

COSATU is also putting pressure on Africa's largest pension fund the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), not to ratify the deal.

"The effects of this deal will reverberate throughout the economy of this country, and all stakeholders, should be given unambiguous and binding assurances before it is ratified," COSATU said.

Masemola said they would 'never allow a situation where the South African offices, of SABMiller, are relocated and the local revenues are spiraled out of the country to the detriment of the entire economy'.

Cosatu said the merger would affect both 'the tax revenue and the job security of the workers.

"SABMiller was built on the back and by the hard work of the South African workers and they deserve to be heard and given assurances with respect to the security of their jobs," the union said.

It said SABMiller was already 'guilty of repatriating profits to London', where the company has its primary listing.

SABMiller employs about 70 000 people in more than 80 countries, while AB InBev has about 155 000 employees.

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