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South African Breweries to Meet Union Amid Violent Strike

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- South African Breweries, a unit of the world’s second-biggest beer maker SABMiller Plc, said it’s willing to meet officials from the Food and Allied Workers Union this week to discuss the end of a violent strike.

The company, which makes Grolsch and Peroni lagers, won’t negotiate further on wage increases and is sticking to a final offer of a 7 percent raise, it said in a statement today. About 750 workers are on strike, or less than 27 percent of the brewer’s union members, it said.

SAB said last week that some of its employees had their houses firebombed and cars burned by striking workers. The FAWU said it had told its members not to take part in any violence. The union wants to meet SAB this week to discuss how to end the five-week stoppage, it said.

SAB will “discuss the manner in which employees can return to work and not to negotiate further on wages and working conditions,” the company said. “SAB believes that process has been exhausted.”

South Africa has been plagued by strikes this year that have affected industries including mining, carmaking and construction. The National Treasury cut its forecast for 2013 economic expansion to 2.1 percent from 2.7 percent last week, partly as a result of the stoppages.

SAB said its 7 percent wage offer increase, which will boost the average pay of shift workers to 18,283 rand ($1,792) per month, is above inflation and compares favorably with other industries. Inflation was 6 percent in September. The FAWU has asked for a 9 percent rise.

The company said it had been able to keep operations running during the strike and doesn’t anticipate beer shortages for South African customers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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