Settlement in Swazi sugar strike brings important gains for workers
The three-week strike by the Swaziland Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (SAPWU) has ended with a settlement bringing workers a 10% wage increase and satisfying the union’s non-wage demands, including improved benefits for seasonal workers. Over the course of the strike involving some 3,000 workers, union members stood up to intimidation by military and security forces and legal action by the company intended to hamper picketing. Ubombo Sugar, the Swazi subsidiary of South African sugar giant Illovo, is 40% owned by Swaziland’s despotic monarch Mswati III. Illovo in turn is 51% controlled by the UK’s Associated British Foods (ABF).
The union’s general secretary Archie Sayed has written that “The workers of Ubombo send their gratitude to all who contributed to their struggle and appreciate the spirit of solidarity which has also come as a lesson to them that there no better future for the workers as solidarity and unity.”
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