CSAAWU WINS PRESTIGUOUS INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
The farmworkers union CSAAWU has been awarded the 2017 Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights.
The prestigious prize, established by Norwegian trade union Industri Energi, recognises the work that the prize winners do in countries or contexts where union work is often very difficult or dangerous.
The Commercial Stevedoring and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) has been responsible for organizing farmworkers mainly in the Western Cape over the past ten years. During the Western Cape farmworker uprising in 2012/2013 the union faced many legal battles as many leaders were dismissed, intimidated and several were also imprisoned. Despite these challenges and even the threat of closure, CSAAWU continued to mobilize and support farm workers.
The union often faces an uphill battle gaining access to farms to educate workers about their rights or to investigate complaints against farmers. In August last year, the union embarked on a legal strike at the Robertson Winery that ended with a collective agreement on a wage increase for workers. The union has also represented hundreds of workers in labour court cases over the years, while also actively fighting against farm evictions.
“This is indeed a huge recognition, not only for CSAAWU, but for all farmworkers and the poor in rural South Africa,” the union said in a statement following the announcement of the prize.
The Arthur Svensson Prize is named after one of the most prominent leaders of the Norwegian trade union movement, who had a profound effect on society by creating better conditions for Norwegian workers. The prize has a value of around R700 000, which goes towards the work and projects of the respective union.
ISSUED BY CSAAWU. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT KAREL SWART ON 0817297111 OR TREVOR CHRISTIANS ON 0835462911.