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Strike Hits Unilever Plant in South Africa

Jan. 24, 2014
The Food and Allied Workers Union want a 9% pay increase while the company has offered 6%.

JOHANNESBURG -- Unilever (IW 1000/59) South Africa said on Friday that production at a food factory in the city of Pietermaritzburg had been hit by strike action by unionized employees.

"Production has been affected," the firm said. "We are trying to manage operations with minimal disruption to all our stakeholders, especially customers."

The Food and Allied Workers Union said 220 staff at Unilever's "food solutions and tea factory" divisions had downed tools, demanding a 9% pay increase.

According to the union, the firm had offered a 6% wage hike, slightly above inflation.

"Management on site is engaging with the relevant employee representatives to ensure that an agreement is reached," the company said.

In November Unilever broke ground on a new ice-cream facility in the country in November which will make brands like Magnum and Cornetto.

It has also invested around $100 million in a home care facility near Johannesburg and 60 million on a savory products factory in Durban.

The firm employed around 2,700 people in the country at the end of last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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