‘Feathers fly’ as Rainbow to retrench

2016-12-14 06:02

THOUSANDS of workers in the poultry industry are set to lose their jobs in January 2017.

According to Food Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) general secretary Katishi Masemola, 1 300 workers from KZN’s iconic chicken producer, Rainbow Chicken, will be retrenched next year.

Masemola said two other large chicken producers were considering retrenching staff too.

Feathers flew on Tuesday as hundreds of workers marched to the provincial legislature to demand an end to “EU chickens dumping”, which they said is responsible for the job loses in the sector.

Masemola said the situation had reached crisis stage, saying there was not the luxury of time in this matter. He demanded action be taken.

Masemola gave the provincial Department of Economic Development and the provincial cabinet two days to respond to the demands and said the union will continue to roll out mass action should they get no joy.

Managing director of Rainbow Chicken, Scott Pitman who wore a red T-shirt and joined the protesters in the march, described Tuesday as a sad day.

He urged government to intervene, saying something can be done to prevent the job losses.

The premier’s special adviser, Linda Zama, said she will express the “urgency” that needs to be given to the memorandum by the provincial government.

“These grievances are not unreasonable at all,” she said.

Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala said the department had formed a task team to look into the matter.

“We are aware of the challenges faced by the poultry industry in our province and in the country, in general. In this regard, we have made a decisive intervention by appointing a task team that is working with all the industry players, including labour, to find a lasting solution to this challenge. While this is a complex matter owing to the interconnectedness of the South African economy to the global economy, we believe that it is in our interest to work together to find a solution,” he said.

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