The General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa), the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and supporting organisations gathered on Saturday to organise broader solidarity support in the ongoing strike against Clover.
In a joint statement, Giwusa and Fawu said workers would continue the strike and were determined to see it through until their demands were met, despite not being paid since the beginning of the strike action on November 22.
As part of the rolling mass action against Clover, the striking workers were demonstrating at the CCMA in Johannesburg on Monday, where Giwusa and Fawu were set to declare a dispute against the company for “withholding the payment of the workers’ 13th cheque”.
The unions will proceed with a march to the offices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Thursday to hand over a memorandum of demands to Minister, Ebrahim Patel. From there, the organisations and striking workers will continue to the Union Buildings.
According to Giwusa and Fawu, Clover’s restructuring strategy is closing its inland facilities and moving them to the coastal areas.
“The local economies of these small towns will be devastated by these closures, as Clover forms an integral part of the economy of these communities. Many farmers and farmworkers are already feeling the brunt of these closures.
“With the closing of its facilities, Clover has also terminated its milk supply contracts with local farmers, who, in turn are abandoning farms and cutting jobs. The security of the milk supply is coming under severe pressure and already milk prices are rising. These local towns are not only losing manufacturing capacity, but also farming capacity, thus threatening food security.”
Giwusa and Fawu demanded the unconditional reinstatement of all retrenched workers, reinstatement of dismissed Empangeni workers, complete scrapping of all austerity measures, including the 20 percent salary cuts disinvestment of CBC, nationalisation of Clover SA under workers’ control and its complete transformation into a co-operative.
The unions also called on South Africans and the rest of the world to boycott all Clover products to show solidarity with the 5 000 workers.
In a media statement issued on 3 January 2022, Clover said: “Working with the CCMA, we explored all possible avenues to minimise retrenchments and ensured a process that was fair and in accordance with all legal requirements.”
The dairy producer said the organisation respected the right of employees to strike and continued to act in accordance with all respective legislation, while remaining committed to resolving the matter in a constructive manner.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE