South African farmworkers get Norwegian award

The Commercial Stevedoring and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) have won the Norwegian Artur Svenssons 2017 international award, for fighting poor conditions in South African wineries.

The award, that includes a 740.000 rand prize, is awarded by Norwegian trade union confederation Industri Energi, who organizes workers in the Norwegian oil-, gas- and land-based industries. The confederation has 60.000 members. Read more of this post

The democratisation of Swaziland: inside or outside job?

swaziland-pudemo-2013-194The small absolute monarchy of Swaziland is best known for its tourism, “unique” culture tied to its monarchy, and the cultural and spending exploits of playboy-king Mswati III, not for its repressive regime and ongoing struggle for democracy.

Swaziland is nominally a middle income country that is seldom condemned by world leaders and rarely mentioned in the international media, even though it is one of the most unequal, poverty-stricken and unfree countries in the world, and even though King Mswati spends millions of dollars on prestige projects and personal jets while his subjects starve. Read more of this post

Do Swazis want democracy?

bheki_New Afrobarometer-report shows that Africans still cautiously embrace democracy. In the small absolute monarchy of Swaziland, support for democracy is low but rising. In many other countries it is falling.

‘Do Africans still want democracy,’ independent research network Afrobarometer asks Africans in a new report? The answer seems to be a cautious and qualified ‘yes’. In Swaziland, a small absolute monarchy where parties are banned and the king appoints the government and controls everything from the economy to the judiciary, numbers are very low but rising. Read more of this post

Bitter South African grapes

empty-shelves-where-the-robertson-wine-should-have-been-in-danish-supermarket-min-kobmand-in-november-photo-peter-kenworthyA 14 week strike against Robertson Winery in the Western Cape over poor pay and work conditions ended in November, forcing the Western Cape government to investigate apartheid-like conditions at several South African wineries.

Monthly salaries below the South African minimum wage of 2778 rand (=160 £). Falling ill from using dangerous pesticides without training or protective gear. Being fired for being a member of a union or complaining. Apartheid-like racism and lack of government protection. Read more of this post

Denmark’s largest supermarket chain ditches Robertson Winery

screenhunter_4167-nov-04-15-54Denmark’s largest supermarket chain, Coop, stated Thursday that they have stopped selling wine from South African Robertson Winery in their Fakta-supermarkets across the border in neighbouring Germany.

Wine from Robertson Winery has also been removed from rivalling supermarket chain, Dagrofa, after the Danish documentary “Bitter Grapes” revealed salaries below the South African minimum wage and indecent working conditions at Robertson. Read more of this post

Striking South African farm labourers could go to prison

csaawu-in-front-of-labour-court-in-cape-town26 months in prison for the leaders of the union and a fine of 500,000 rand for the union, or about ten years’ salary for a farm worker at Robertson Winery. This might be the result of a court case between the farm workers union CSAAWU and the wine company.

The farm workers at Robertson Winery have been on strike for over 2 months, demanding a living wage and decent working conditions. Read more of this post

Bitter grapes from South Africa

house-of-farm-worker-smallThe new Danish documentary, Bitter Grapes, reveals apartheid-like conditions in the South African wine industry.

Vineyards in the beautiful Western Cape. Delicious looking red wine poured into a glass. Happy consumers shopping for wine in supermarkets. Then the image changes to the conditions of the farm workers and the contrast is immense. Read more of this post