SEVERAL labour organisations are gearing up for a major solidarity action on Thursday on Clover companies and stores stocking the company’s products as a protracted strike for wage increments and against retrenchments soldiers on into its 10th week.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), the Food and Allied Workers Union and the General Industrial Workers Union, along with the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) have resolved to pile pressure on Clover in a national and international day of action, which will include protesting at various embassies.
The unions are protesting the closure of several factories and retrenchments – Clover closed two factories in the Western Cape in 2020 and intends to close four more factories in Gauteng, the Free State and in the North West.
In 2021, 1 600 workers were retrenched and a further 822 will be retrenched by the end of February.
“On January 25 is the national and international day of action when Saftu is calling on the working class to occupy shops stocking Clover products, and to hold demonstrations at embassies. We are calling on all our members and all progressive working-class organisations to support this strike and to support the call to boycott Clover. Those who are able to attend the demonstrations are encouraged to do so in support of this just cause,” the unions said in a joint statement.
They said Clover had planned to close a further four factories in Frankfort and Heilbron in the Free State, Lichtenburg in North West and City Deep in Gauteng. “The inevitable outcome of these factory closures is loss of jobs. In 2021 alone, Clover retrenched more than 1 600 workers.
“It is planning to retrench a further 812 by the end of February 2022. This is even though in the authorisation of the acquisition of Clover shares, the acquiring company, Milco, had promised not to retrench workers,” the statement said.
Clover management has proposed wage cuts of more than 20 percent.
“The management claims that wages of workers are above the average market rate and thus bosses are determined not only to suppress these wages but propose to cut them,” the unions said.
On Saturday, the unions had a rally to mobilise Numsa, the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union and the Transport, Action, Retail and General Workers Union, at which a special working-class movement to look at solidarity actions and to elaborate a further programme was established.
Over the weekend, a Fidelity security guard died while protecting a Clover delivery vehicle from striking workers in Olifantsfontein.
Clover said the guard was in an escort vehicle assigned to protect a Clover delivery vehicle from attack by striking workers.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE