KWV South Africa employees have staged lunchtime strikes this week over proposed retrenchments, claiming the company's restructuring process was not transparent.

The Food and Allied Workers Union said the company had informed it in May that 104 employees could be affected if the restructuring took place. KWV SA is a the production wing of KWV Limited and workers at the company's Paarl, Worcester and Upington plants demonstrated.

KWV has also just completed a seven-month, R6m plus revamp of its 75 year-old Cathedral Cellar in its Paarl production complex, but said the two issues could not be related.

In a statement the Union said it saw the intended restructuring as a "smoke screen", because wage negotiations were also underway at the same time.

The restructuring also came as a surprise after KWV's high profile black empowerment deal last year, where black employees received the equivalent of a 6.7% stake in KWV Limited.

The Union queried how the retrenchments would affect the shares of people who lost their jobs.

KWV attributed the reduction to improving profitability and effectiveness in its business.