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13 May 2019

Sarah Smit, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

So. Africa: Workers allege sexual harassment at Heineken's brewery, Heineken denies allegation

Heineken Workers' Forum prepares to march against ‘sex for shifts’ 4 April 2019

Workers at Heineken are preparing to march against sexual abuse at the beer giant’s Sedibeng brewery. The Heineken Workers’ Forum announced this week that it will be marching against an alleged “sex for shifts” system playing out at the brewery. “Women experience extreme violence because of these unequal power relations,” the statement reads. “Supervisors expect women to give sex for being scheduled in good shifts, get a better job or even just keep the job.”

Millicent Maroga, Heineken’s corporate affairs director, has denied allegations that the company has turned a blind eye to sexual harassment claims. According to Maroga, the allegations are not levelled directly at Heineken but at service provider Imperial, which operates at the brewery. “Both Heineken and Imperial have (independently of each other) put in place reporting channels (toll-free tip-off lines) where employees are encouraged to anonymously (if they choose to) report wrongdoing, including abuse of this nature,” Maroga told the Mail & Guardian.

There have been no complaints received across the various platforms provided to Imperial workers, Maroga said. In 2017, the M&G reported on the struggle of workers, many of whom were working at the brewery under various labour brokers, like Imperial, to be made permanent by Heineken.