Tuesday will see the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) march to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and parliament, the first this month, to call attention to job losses in the South African sugar and poultry industries. FAWU will be leading the marches to the SARS office in Pretoria on Tuesday 6 March and to parliament in Cape Town, tentatively on 12 March, to protest the loss of jobs through illicit trade practices and inappropriate government policies to prevent these job losses.
Employment in sugar and poultry industries is declining because of inadequate protection, including through appropriate tariff measures.
“We need the government to clamp down on the illicit trade in poultry, sugar and sugary sweets, tobacco, alcohol, fishing, soft drinks… it is rampant across so many of our industries at the cost of our people’s jobs," said Katishi Masemola, FAWU general secretary. “We need action to create jobs and job security. We need action to guarantee revenue for government coffers. We need action for better health outcomes in our country.”
Marches backed by FairPlay
The marches will be supported by the FairPlay movement, a not-for-profit trade movement that fights for jobs. Its goal is to end predatory trade practices between countries so that big and small nations play by the same rules on a level playing field. It supports the principle that penalties for transgressing those rules apply equally to everybody.
“We are supporting the South African sugar industry because it is an important and strategic industry under threat. Jobs are being lost unnecessarily because the measures to protect the local industry are not timeous and flexible enough,” said FairPlay founder Francois Baird. “Like the chicken industry which we have supported for more than a year, the sugar industry is in decline, and because of government inaction, it is shrinking when it should be growing, creating jobs and exporting its products. The government needs to wake up to the jobs crisis in the sugar industry,” Baird said. He was speaking at a Poultry Forum held by Proudly SA held recently and called for the government to investigate the implementation of a zero rating in VAT for uncooked locally produced chicken.