Winter 2012/2013 saw large scale insurrection on farms in the Western Cape province of South Africa. In the wake of the Marikana massacre, farm workers rose up and attempted to end centuries of virtual serf-like conditions, and demand decent wages.
One union stepped in to defend them: The Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU). Now, after defending dismissed workers in court, CSAAWU faces bankruptcy, leaving farm workers with no voice.
Please join the indiegogo campaign and support CSAAWU.
You can read some background to the strike here.
In the coming months CSAAWU may be forced to close its doors.
It will be a devastating defeat for CSAAWU members and farmworkers in South Africa for many years to come if CSAAWU can’t be saved! We need many hands (bodies and hearts) on board to keep CSAAWU doors open!
CSAAWU made a decision to defend all farmworkers who were dismissed or victimized in the aftermath of the 2012/3 farmworker rebellion. Amongst CSAAWU members alone, there were close to 100 dismissal cases. CSAAWU went as far as to take dismissal cases to the Labour Court. This was the first time since 1994 that farmworkers were heard in the Labour Court.
The Labour Court issued devastating judgements against the dismissed workers and CSAAWU. CSAAWU lost two of the cases and cost orders were awarded against the union. The judgement rebuked individual union officials for supporting the strike, deeming this reckless and irresponsible behaviour. CSAAWU paid a high price for its position to support the struggle of farmworkers. CSAAWU believes that it can never be wrong for a union to support the strike action workers, especially the most vulnerable workers, when they stand up against their exploitative conditions.
The cost orders of R600,000 against the union could force the union to close its doors unless we all build solidarity and support for CSAAWU!
CSAAWU is developing a fundraising website. We are collecting testimonials of our members for the website and would also like to publicise statements from organizations/individuals in support of keeping CSAAWU doors open!
Please email us your words of support, encouraging others to stand in solidarity with CSAAWU! Feel free to contact us if you need more information.
KEEP CSAAWU DOORS OPEN!
“CSAAWU means everything to me. CSAAWU taught me to believe in myself and showed us how important we are farmworkers are. CSAAWU’s doors can’t be closed because it will break the workers confidence. Long live CSAAWU!” (Mercia Plaatjies, Koo).