Karabo Mashaba
2 minute read
27 Jan 2022
12:40 pm

Clover workers picket in Sandton against Israeli ownership

Karabo Mashaba

Workers who have been on strike since November 2021 are picketing over alleged unfair conditions, salary cuts and mass retrenchments.

Clover workers, represented by trade unions Numsa, Giwusa and Fawu, are picketing at the Israeli Trade Office in Sandton. Picture: Twitter (@Numsa_Media)

Clover workers represented by the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) are continuing their picket at the Israeli Trade Office in Sandton on Thursday.

This is to protest against the Israeli ownership of the Central Bottling Company (CBC), which owns Clover through the Milco consortium.

The employees have been on strike since November 2021, as they claim that Clover has failed to honour their target of job creation.

The unions representing them also say the company has embarked on mass retrenchments following the restructuring of its operations.

ALSO READ: Clover strike: Company claims security guard killed by protesting workers

In addition, protesting workers have been fighting over salary cuts and work conditions that have allegedly worsened since Clover was acquired by Milco SA.

The agenda of the workers’ latest protest in Sandton follows the call by trade unions to boycott Clover.

“We are not surprised that Clover is oppressing workers. Their owners, the CBC, are oppressing Palestinians!” says the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

“They are operating on stolen land belonging to Palestinian people.”

Numsa says it will continue to support the demand for a free Palestine.

Security guard killed

On Saturday, a Fidelity security guard died while protecting a Clover delivery vehicle from striking workers in Olifantsfontein.

While some of the striking workers threw bottles and rocks at the truck and security officers, others started looting the truck.

The security officers responded by firing rubber bullets.

It was during this chaos when Tsephe Molatsi was reportedly shot in the head and repeatedly beaten.

“This is not industrial action; this is murder. We already have one interdict granted against the unions to prevent violence, which [workers] have ignored,” said Steven Velthuysen, the spokesperson for Clover.

In November, the Labour Court granted an interdict restraining striking employees from:

  • Participating in violent and unlawful conduct;
  • Harassing or intimidating any Clover employee, contractor or service provider; and
  • Disrupting the business operations of any Clover customer or client.

Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell.