South Africa: Striking Clover Workers to Get Overdue Bonuses By Friday

11 January 2022

Workers have welcomed a promise by Clover SA to pay overdue bonuses as a win in the ongoing dispute between the company and workers.

This follows a picket by hundreds of workers affiliated to the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) in Johannesburg on Monday in solidarity with striking Clover workers. Members of the Food and Allied Workers' Union (FAWU) and the General Industrial Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) also attended.

On Monday, SAFTU spokesperson Trevor Shaku told GroundUp that workers are usually paid their annual 13th cheque by 25 November, but this had not happened.

Shaku said workers managed to secure an agreement with the company at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on Monday that their overdue bonuses would be paid by no later than Friday, 14 January.

Clover workers across the country have been on strike for eight weeks. They are demanding that the company stop plans for further retrenchments or job losses, and reinstate all workers. They also want the company to be independent of the Israeli company Central Bottling Company (CBC) which owns Clover through its subsidiary Milco SA.

The unions have also rejected a proposal to cut wages by 20%. They instead demand a 10% increase.

SAFTU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said that about 1,600 workers were retrenched at Clover during 2021. A further 800 workers are expected to be retrenched by February, he said.

"The closure of factories will not only result in a loss of jobs, but will shrink the economy of those small towns," Vavi said. "The closures have ripple effects down and upstream of the supply chain."

Questions sent to Clover had not been answered by the time of publication.

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