COSATU statement on the ongoing strike at Clover 

The Congress of South African Trade Unions offers its full support to the unions and workers at Clover who have been on strike since November last year. The workers at Clover have been fighting against job losses, factory closures, and a unilateral reduction of workers’ salaries by up to 30%. 

The Federation has met with the relevant unions to discuss the current situation and engage with them to develop practical ways to support these workers. We call on the employers to return to the negotiating table and engage with unions in good faith to resolve the valid and legitimate demands submitted by workers. 

We also call on the department of Employment and Labour and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition to intervene to save jobs and stop this carnage that is unleashed by Clover and Milko South Africa.   

DTIC should look specifically on whether Clover has violated the terms that the Competition Commission set for its merger. COSATU believes that they have broken their commitments to retain and create jobs. The Commission should exercise its powers to hold Clover accountable and enforce the necessary sanctions consequently for its behavior.  

The current competition policies are also too lax, and they encourage the concentration of capital through allowing mergers, whose direct effect is to push up prices and salaries of executives and increase job losses and monopolising markets. 

The latest figures show that real unemployment in the country is sitting at 46%, this represents half the adult working population. This does not account for the short-term work and precarious work that has seen many being treated like glorified slaves.  Half the country lives in poverty or a category called near poverty, so we cannot accept any decimation of existing jobs. 

This scandalous numbers demand that government intervene and stop the private sector from decimating jobs and plunging more people into poverty 

The Premier of the North-West must report on what the Provincial Government has done to respond to and resolve the concerns raised by Clover on its decision to close its operations in Lichtenburg, because of the municipality’s failure to provide reliable energy, clean water, and paved roads. This will result in the loss of more than 800 direct and indirect jobs in this small community and will lead to it becoming an economic wasteland.  

Many workers can’t find meaningful work, are often burdened by large sums of debt. 

The big problem is that our economic and political has worsened deindustrialization, offshoring of manufacturing, automation, and is imposing austerity programs that suffocates he economy. 

We call on workers to show unity by giving practical support to the striking Clover workers. If we do not support each other on the picket line, we will meet each other on the unemployment line. 

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson) 

Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794