Monday, July 06, 2009

The following appeal for solidarity with 19 shop stewards in South Africa comes from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start.

South Africa: Shop stewards sacked for safety strike:
At the Enstra paper mill in Sappi's home country of South Africa, 19 shop stewards were suspended from work and now await discipline. They are charged with inciting workers to strike after a worker refused to do unsafe work. That worker is one of 23 other workers who remain on the job, but also face discipline for their roles in 3 short safety strikes. Sappi originally sought to sack 4 stewards, but when the union CEPPWAWU said no, Sappi suspended all shop stewards, leaving the 700-worker paper mill unrepresented. In the aftermath of the strikes, a joint labour-management group filed a report on the causes of the safety breach and subsequent strikes, complete with recommendations, but mill management ignored those recommendations and despite global calls to CEO Ralph Boettger from Sappi workers in 7 countries to drop this matter, Sappi is going ahead with the discipline. Your voice is needed now - write directly to the Industrial Relations people who are handling this matter.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to Sappi management.
Dear Sappi Executive in South Africa:
It is unconscionable that you are going ahead with discipline on elected workplace representatives who have taken on responsibility to protect worker health and safety. I refer to the current conflict at your Enstra mill. This is bad for business, bad for Sappi's public reputation, and sends the wrong message to Sappi employees regarding health and safety. Please drop the charges against the 19 shop stewards and 23 other workers at Enstra, and work toward building a trustworthy relationship with CEPPWAWA in South Africa and other trade unions in other countries.

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