Civil organisations and workers' unions are standing in solidarity with thousands of Clover workers. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Civil organisations and workers' unions are standing in solidarity with thousands of Clover workers. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Call for consumers to boycott Clover in support of its workers

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jan 11, 2022

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Cape Town - Civil organisations and trade unions are standing in solidarity with hundreds of Clover workers who have called on consumers to boycott the company’s products.

This as Clover employees on strike received support from the Media Review Network (MRN), saying it stood in solidarity with the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the General Industries Workers Unions of SA (Giwusa) “to gain justice for employees adversely affected” by the takeover of Clover by Israeli company, Milco.

Clover has been hit by a strike since November, with workers protesting against wage cuts, retrenchments and corporate restructuring.

As part of the rolling mass action against Clover/Milco, workers demonstrated outside the CCMA offices in Johannesburg and in Cape Town on Monday, demanding the unconditional reinstatement of all retrenched workers, among other issues.

In a statement, Giwu and Fawu said workers demanded the complete scrapping of all austerity measures including 20% salary cuts, and the disinvestment of Central Bottling Company (CBC).

The Anti-Repression Working Group of the C19 People’s Coalition said Milco SA purchased Clover, with a clear mandate of closing local factories in favour of importing and distributing Israeli products instead.

SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) chairperson Rowan Polovin said it was appalled by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s attempt to hijack and manipulate a South African labour dispute in pursuit of their own extremist and anti-semitic agenda.

“They have no interest in benefiting ordinary South African workers, or contributing towards skills development and job-growth in this country, but have opportunistically infiltrated this issue purely and simply because Clover is owned by a subsidiary of Israel’s CBC.”

Polovin said the SAZF rejected as falsehoods and conspiracy theories what BDS was spreading to workers – that Milco SA or Israel’s CBC operated unlawfully in any manner.

Clover said as a business deeply committed to its stakeholders and invested in the growth of the country and its people, that its decision was not taken lightly.

“It was however necessary to enhance Clover’s resilience for the benefit of its collective stakeholders,” Clover said.

The company said working with the CCMA, Clover explored all possible avenues to minimise retrenchments and ensured a process that was fair and in accordance with all legal requirements.

“Concurrent to the Section 189 process, Clover has been engaging representative bodies on the annual wage review since April 2021. On November 9, 2021, Clover made a final offer of a backdated 4.5% increase in wages effective July 1, 2021, but this was rejected.”

It said negotiations subsequently broke down and unionised employees embarked on a national strike on November 22 last year.

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