Csaawu launches campaign to save it from bankruptcy

Daneel Knoetze
Photo courtesy of Thembi Luckett.
Daneel Knoetze

Farmworkers union Csaawu has launched an online crowd-funding campaign to save it from bankruptcy.

Last month GroundUp published a motivation for the Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural & Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) to be saved from closing its doors due to crippling debts incurred when the labour court ruled against it in two farm worker dismissal cases. The cases, both of which Csaawu lost, date back to the 2012/2013 agricultural strikes in the Western Cape. The Labour Court ordered that Csaawu pay the legal costs of the farmers at La Maison and Steytler Boerdery farms outside Robertson.

The union has now launched a platform, via crowd-funding website IndieGogo, where supporters can pledge money to help raise the R600,000 needed for the union to settle outstanding legal costs. The site, launched on Friday, had raised just over R5,000 by Monday afternoon.

“Farm workers’ constitutional and human rights are constantly undermined, including their right to organize,” says Trevor Christians, the union’s General Secretary.

“Farm workers’ houses are often not fit for living in, they have no working toilets, they receive poverty wages, and they face dangerous working conditions. Yet it is these workers who make and harvest the food that we eat.”

The dangers and difficulty faced by Csaawu when organising among farm workers came into focus last week when reports of an assault on one of the union’s shop stewards emerged from a wine farm outside Robertson. Worker and Csaawu organiser Gerald Slingers, 26, was allegedly slapped and throttled by his employer on Eilandia wine farm for attempting to have a meeting, under the union’s banner, on the farm. Police are investigating a case of assault in that instance.

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TOPICS:  Labour

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