The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has called on the government to announce new tariffs, as the current ones threaten thousands of jobs in the poultry industry.
In a statement on Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the South African Federation of Trade Unions raised concerns on the lack of announcement of new tariffs by the government. The union noted that during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 13 February 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised to announce new tariffs within two weeks. The union has noted the grave damage that has been created by imported chicken from Europe and Brazil. “Chicken imports have already killed thousands of South African jobs and are threatening thousands more,” the statement read.
The union noted that even though its affiliate union, Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), has taken to strike action in the past, its plights have fallen on deaf ears as the government has failed to act on this matter.
“We have highlighted the plight of workers and their families when imports force retrenchments. We have pleaded with government for action to protect them. This is indefensible in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world – the President himself said that more than half of our young people cannot find work,” the statement continued.
UNTU also highlighted the government’s failure to implement the Poultry Sector Master Plan, which was to save jobs through curbing damaging imports and create jobs by sourcing chickens locally. “We want a situation where South African jobs are prioritised, and where a threatened local industry is encouraged to expand and create thousands more jobs,” the statement concluded.