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14 Jan 2022

S. Africa: 4,000 Clover workers strike over retrenchments & wage cuts; incl. co. comments

South African agricultural workers and members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) plant cabbage seedlings on a farm in Rustenburg.

In November 2021, 4,000 Clover workers from the Food & Allied Workers Union (FAWU) and the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa went on strike over retrenchments and wage cuts. According to the National Organiser of FAWU, Cynthia Joyce, 752 workers union members had been dismissed for refusing to accept a 30% wage cut offered by the company. Furthermore, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi reported about 1,600 workers had been retrenched in 2021, and a further 800 were expected to be retrenched by February 2022.

In January 2022, after eight weeks, workers reported that Clover had agreed to pay workers their overdue bonuses from 25 November 2021. The unions rejected a proposal to cut wages by 20% and instead demanded a 10% increase. The workers vowed to continue the strike until their demands were met, threatening to occupy the Union Buildings.

The SAFTU warned of 2,000 workers losing their jobs in 2022, and called on the Department of Trade and Industry to engage with the Competition Commission to reverse the decision on retrenchments.

Company comments can be found below.

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