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Clover workers intensify strike action globally

Protesters calling for a boycott of Clover gathered on Robert Sobukwe road in Bishop Lavis on Thursday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Protesters calling for a boycott of Clover gathered on Robert Sobukwe road in Bishop Lavis on Thursday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Published Jan 28, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - Striking Clover employees were supported globally yesterday as the continued protest by about 5 000 workers served to again highlight their demands, including better working conditions.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and its affiliates, the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the General Industries Workers Unions of South Africa (Giwusa) together with other trade unions and organisations nationally and internationally, organised a National and International Day of Action in solidarity with striking Clover workers yesterday.

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According to the union groups, protest action in at least six parts of South Africa, as well as nine other locations, amplified the demand for decent working conditions and an end to factory closures, employee exploitation and slashing of jobs.

The strike action also aimed to gain justice for employees adversely affected by the takeover of Clover by Israeli company, Milco.

In Cape Town, workers picketed outside the Clover Distribution Centre in Bishop Lavis.

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Giwusa secretary, Abeedah Adams, said: “We set out to... create more awareness with the current labour dispute at Clover. We have largely succeeded in that and for people to boycott Clover products.

“The community of Bishop Lavis also joined us in today’s protest because we also say that worker rights and labour rights are also community and human rights. It was also important for us to remind Clover that our members are still on strike. We are intensifying the campaign in terms of making sure that people boycott Clover. And also that Milco would eventually disinvest in Clover because we cannot have an Israeli company operating business in South Africa,” said Adams.

Saftu national spokesperson, Trevor Shaku, said workers marched in Sandton and when they arrived at a grocery retailer they pasted “boycott Clover” stickers onto Clover products, while the Socialist Alternative organisation held a picket outside the Embassy buildings in London and in Polokwane. Further pickets were expected to take place in Brazil and the US at midnight.

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Clover on Thursday did not respond to enquiries by deadline while attempts to get comment from Milco were unsuccessful.

In a statement previously issued by the Worker and Socialist Party (Wasp), it confirmed since November 22, 2021, over 5 000 Clover workers had been on strike to oppose the restructuring of Clover; entailing factory closures, massive job losses, wage cuts and alleged intensified exploitation of the remaining workforce.

Cape Times

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