Saturday, October 11, 2008


The following appeal for solidarity comes from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start.


Act NOW!

South Africa: Woolworths engages in union-busting:

More than 5,000 workers at Woolworths had been on strike since 17 September 2008 over an organisational rights dispute. Their union, SACCAWU, has for the last ten months tried to negotiate a relationship agreement with Woolworths. Woolworths in Wal-mart union-bashing style had steadfastly refused to meet with the union and made unsubstantiated claims that the union has fewer than 6% members in the company. All attempts to challenge this have been frustrated by the company. At the beginning of August SACCAWU decided to strike. Workers demands are:

1. A verification process of SACCAWU membership,

2. Negotiation of a relationship agreement,

3. Stop order facilities

4. Access to company premises by union officials to conduct union work

Instead the company has turned to labour brokers to supply scab labour and tried frustrating the strikers right to picket and while continuously placing new demands on SACCAWU including the deliberate manipulation of the labour legislation to cause further delays. Most recently, just as it appeared that a settlement could be reached the company indicated its refusal to recognise any members who have joined the union more than three months ago and further insist to individually check all members to establish whether they have been intimidated into joining SACCAWU.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter.
I have learned that Woolworths has been involved in a systematic campaign to undermine worker rights and the right of workers to join a union of their choice. I am aware that the workers have been on strike since 17 September 2008 for the right to recognise SACCAWU and despite all attempts by the union to resolve the dispute your company has continuously refused to meet with SACCAWU. Instead you have turned to intimidate workers who are engaged in a protected strike action in terms of the labour legislation.

I call on you to desist from intimidating workers on the picket line, to stop interfering with workers right to picket, to recognise the right of workers to join the union of their choice, to respect trade union rights and to negotiate with SACCAWU in good faith.

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