Strike At Pepsi Plant

By Milly Kalyabe and A. G. Musamali, New Vision (Kampala), 18 January 2001

Kampala—Employees of Crown Beverages, makers of Pepsi Cola products, yesterday went on a sit-down at the Nakawa plant. They are protesting late payment of wage packages and mistreatment.

Workers are also demanding for the removal of August Van Heerden, the company's chief executive officer claiming he is hostile to them.

When Business Vision visited the plant yesterday numerous workers were camped outside the perimeter fence. Efforts to get a comment from management were unsuccessful, because they were said to be in meetings. However by midday, the crisis meeting between directors and the workers representatives had failed to reach compromise. No update on the strike yet, a Crown Director Dr. Maggie Kigozi said yesterday.

One worker, Tom Okello, said that there were colleagues who had been employed four years ago on probationary terms and had been waiting for confirmation ever since.

Pepsi Cola keeps on maintaining some people for hiring for more than 4 years without confirming anyone in the company. So we are tired of this company in Uganda, said Okello, in a chit handed to Business Vision.

Other workers said that they are supposed to work for 7 or 8 hours a day at the rate of sh3000 per day but they end up working for 13 hours and yet overtime is not catered for.

They said they are also entitled to transport and lunch allowances, which have not been paid for a very long time. Other people who joined the striking workers included truck drivers of hired delivery vehicle who said they were being inadequately paid for the hire of their vehicles.