Swaziland sugar strikes spread as South African sugar giant Illovo refuses to settle
The strike by 3,000 workers launched on June 13 at Swaziland's Ubombo Sugar continues, despite a settlement with 1,300 striking workers at South African-based Tongaat Hulett's Tambankulu Estates in Swaziland. The Swaziland Agricultural & Plantation Workers' Union (SAPWU) downed tools there on June 12 and won a 10% wage increase and non-wage improvements, but Illovo's Ubombo management is refusing to concede similar demands. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO ILLOVO!
South African-based Illovo, Africa's largest sugar company which boasts of being "one of the world's lowest cost sugar producers", is 51% owned by the UK's Associated British Foods. In Swaziland they are in partnership with the despotic King Mswati III, who has banned political parties and de-registered the country's national trade union center.
Southern Africa's impoverished sugar workers have been rising up for improved living and working conditions. In late May/early June this year, an 11-day strike by the South African Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) and two other unions won important wage and non-wage improvements from the country's sugar employers, including Illovo.
The Swazi sugar strike actions have now spread to another company, the citrus and sugar producer United Plantations, which supplies cane to Ubombo/Illovo. SAPWU is leading the fight against rural poverty in Swaziland.
Illovo, whose Swazi plantation and refining operations are many times greater than Tongaat Hulett's Tambankulu Estates, is a hugely profitable company which can at least meet the terms negotiated by the union at a major competitor.
CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO ILLOVO, telling them to negotiate with the union in good faith!