So. Africa: Workers at Heineken's brewery allege sexual harassment by their supervisors; company comments
Author: Sarah Smit, Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Published on: 15 April 2019
‘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.” According to the statement, supervisors and managers at the brewery also use their power to demand money from both men and women for jobs. Workers are expected to march on April 23. “The Heineken Workers Forum has been trying to talk to Heineken about the problems of workers, but the company doesn’t listen. Instead, workers are intimidated, victimised and dismissed for speaking out,” the statement reads.
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.
“In addition to the tip-off line, Imperial has shared and workshopped their sexual harassment policy with their employees and provided various platforms to report misconduct.” 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
Related companies: Heineken