Management set to join workers in protests against chicken imports

POULTRY PROBLEM: The chicken industry is in distress. Picture: Supplied.
POULTRY PROBLEM: The chicken industry is in distress. Picture: Supplied.

In a rare show of solidarity between business and labour, the management of some of the country’s biggest poultry producers are set to swap their offices for the streets and join the Food and Allied Workers Union’s (Fawu’s) three-city mass rolling action.

In an unprecedented move, the management of Astral Foods, RCL Foods and Country Bird Holdings will also march with their workers.

The producers say the industry is in distress as a result of cheap poultry from Europe and the US flooding.

Fawu plans mass action in Tshwane today, Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday and Cape Town on Wednesday.

The union will be joined today by the three companies’ management and staff when it marches on the EU Commission offices in Tshwane.

In Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town, the provincial legislature and parliament will be the target destinations respectively.

Country Bird boss Marthinus Stander said yesterday a high volume of imports, predominantly from the EU, had led to job losses in the poultry industry.

“Protection for our local industry is limited, with no barriers to entry applicable to the EU as a result of a bilateral free trade agreement,” he said.

“This is creating jobs abroad, while shedding jobs in South Africa.” RCL Foods has already announced plans to cut 1 200 jobs, which Stander described as alarming. He warned that “most major producers have more cutbacks to come”.

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