Over 600 Workers Lose Their Jobs at Simba
More than 600 workers lost their jobs at the end of August when Simba Chips ended the contract of labour broker they were employed by. Some of the workers had worked at the company for up to 12 years, starting out as Simba workers but then being moved over to Franmann Services, a labour broker. Simba is owned by Pepsico, the multinational corporation which also makes Pepsi soft drinks.
The workers approached the Casual Workers Advice Office for support after their union, the SA Commercial, Catering & Allied Workers Union, failed to provide them with any protection against their dismissal, even though the union knew as far back as February 2012 that the workers may lose their jobs. Through the CWAO the workers linked up with the Solidarity Committee, which organized several marches to Simba and called for a consumer boycott of its products.
Simba responded by inviting the Solidarity Committee to meet with it. After initially indicating its willingness to take back all workers wanting their jobs again, the company is now stalling. It is saying it will take on 21 of the workers, while another 50 will be absorbed by the new labour broker, Capital Outsourcing. Simba says the rest of the workers must be found jobs by Franmann Services. Workers are unlikely to accept this.
(This article first appeared in Karibu, the newsletter of Khanya College.)