08 December 2023
The Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU) in KwaZulu-Natal supports the protected industrial action by the Federation’s affiliated union, the Agriculture Food & Allied Democratic Workers Union (AFADWU), against Rainbow Chicken Limited.
The strike is a demonstration against the brazen undermining of labour rights, collective bargaining and freedom of choice, affording every employee the right to representation and to join unions of their choice. We hold a strong view that RCL is employing a strategy of union bashing, to render the unions ineffective and demoralise workers from associating themselves with unions and be organized.
As COSATU we were informed by our union, AFADWU that RCL unlawfully withdrew the organizational rights in an attempt to suppress legitimate demands of workers and expose them to vulnerability and exploitation.
The matter has been at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration(CCMA) which granted the union the certificate to strike. RCL has approached the Labour Court to reverse and interdict workers from waging a protest in October. However, the court dismissed the application.
It is quite strange that the employer is prepared to dig deep down in the company coffers to fight against the constitutionally acknowledged right of workers. These resources could have been better allocated to assist in the development of the company or its workers, considering the challenges recently faced by the company threatening its collapse. COSATU is commiserate with the fact that it has played its part to save the situation.
The Federation implores workers to unite for the defence of workers’ rights, under the spirit of solidarity, as we always say, “An Injury to One, Is and Injury to All”.
We urge the surrounding communities to support the struggle of workers by discouraging the employment of scab labour which employers abuse to divide and rule workers.
Furthermore, we call on the RCL company to lower its egos and negotiate faithfully with the union leadership, as this industrial action could have been avoided.
COSATU leadership remains committed towards finding an amicable solution and shall work together with the union in the picket lines for the defence of workers’ rights.
Issued by COSATU KwaZulu-Natal
Edwin Mkhize(COSATU Provincial Secretary)
082 399 7756