Thousands of South African workers are on strike at the Clover Dairy company. The strike started on November 22, 2021 after the Israeli owned company demanded workers take a 30% pay cut and refused to have proper health and safety conditions particularly with the outbreak of COVID-19..
They also fired 700 workers in December 2021 and violated an agreement when they bought the company that there would be no retrenchment until October 2022. The South African ANC government approved the sale despite protests from the unions General Industrial Workers Union South Africa and Food and Allied Workers that the company was also engaged in illegal seizures of Palestinian lands.
In a joint statement the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa and Food and Allied Workers Union representing workers at Clover and its subsidiaries, together with their union federation, South African Federation of Trade Unions, and Palestinian solidarity organisations in South Africa, “condemned the recent judgment by the Competition Tribunal of South Africa on the takeover of Clover by Israeli-led company, Milco SA.” They cited three main objections to the deal, claiming that “the takeover will have negative consequences for South African workers who will face job losses in the context of an already-struggling economy,” as well as “manipulative, unethical and anti-competitive practices by… the CBC… against which there are adverse findings in Israel,” and claims that the “CBC violation of international law, including UN resolutions and Geneva Conventions and the violation of human rights.”
The company has hired a privatized militarised police company to intimidate the workers and break the strike. The owners of the company, the Israeli billionaires Dorit and Dudi Wertheim, own Milco and the Israel Central Bottling Company which is the largest bottling company in Israel and has the franchise from Coca-Cola and many other brands in the US and around the world.
The union GIWUSA General Industriall Workers Union has also called for the nationalization of the company and for the full protection of all jobs and the prevention of the closure of the many facilities that the company wants to close. The founder of the Israeli company Mozi Wertheim was also a Mossad officer and supported the expansion of Israel on Palestinian lands.
The unions are urging international support for their strike at Clover.