Kraft's Job Destruction Strategy Hits South Africa; IUF Affiliate FAWU Fights Back

The vicious lockout of 314 workers at Kraft Foods' Elandsfontein plant in South Africa continues as talks which resulted in a satisfactory resolution of the economic issues in dispute broke down over the company's insistence on disciplinary action as a condition for signing an agreement. The South African Food And Allied Wrokers' Union (FAWU) are now into their 15th week of struggle against the transnational food giant. Kraft's parent company Altria just raised its quarterly dividend by 7.5 percent, and is now surpassed in its dividend yield by only two other companies in the Dow Jones industrial average. Yet Kraft has embarked on a global plan to eliminate 8,000 jobs in order to further boost short-term financial results. The company's determination to weaken the union to implement this strategy in South Africa is at the heart of the conflict. [2006.09.06]

UPDATE: FAWU Wins Settlement at Kraft South Africa

The solidarity and strength of the FAWU membership, bolstered by strong international support, has produced a successful resolution to the nearly 4 month strike at the Kraft Elandsfontein site in South Africa . The union achieved its essential demands, including an increase in the base rate and a new bonus system and severance pay agreement.

On the crucial issue of disciplining union members and shop stewards for their involvement in the strike, FAWU secured assurances that would prevent disciplinary dismissals.

FAWU through the IUF has expressed warm appreciation for the international solidarity and support it received throughout their struggle.