Support the Clover Strike

Kick Apartheid Israel Out of South Africa!

13 January, 2022

The Palestine Solidarity Alliance stands united with trade unions, community organisations, and other progressive forces to kick Apartheid off our shores. Our struggle has been reaffirmed and intensified following the mass meeting in solidarity with striking Clover workers against the Israeli Milco consortium. Pressure is mounting on Milco to divest from Clover, as workers remain resolute against job losses and factory closures, while civil society escalates the campaign for state intervention and consumer boycotts. We call on all members of society to back this campaign by publicising the boycott, donating to the solidarity strike fund.  It is high time that the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition ends its complicity in Israeli Apartheid. Clover must be nationalised and placed under democratic workers’ control.

Milco’s involvement in Israeli colonialism is well documented. It is a subsidiary of the Central Bottling Company (CBC), which operates in the illegal Atarot settlement in East Jerusalem. Not only is this a company founded upon dispossession and desecration, but it aids and abets further processes of colonisation by directly supporting the Israeli regime. CBC uses the advantages of Zionist settlement to hold a near-monopoly on the beverage industry and prevent Palestinian competitors, like the National Beverages Company, from accessing the East Jerusalem market. It owes large parts of its success to the system of Apartheid that separates Israel and Palestine and prevents Palestinians from accessing their own land. CBC is now repeating these tactics elsewhere, using its stake in Clover weaken South African production and to increase imports from Israel.

We trace a direct line between Milco’s buyout of Clover and the restructuring that has decimated eleven factories across South Africa. The colonial pillage that is going on at the hands of Milco was predicted long before the takeover. It is unsurprising that a company founded and supported by a settler-colonial state would oppress South Africans, just as it oppresses Palestinians. It must be noted, however, that the colonial extractivism associated with the takeover is not unique to Clover. Jobs are being shed and labour disputes are occurring at other companies taken over by foreign conglomerates too. From events at Massmart, SAB, Clover, and others, the message is clear: South Africa is open for loot.

Calls for the state to nationalise Clover and put it under democratic worker control are not mere pipe-dreams. They are reasonable demands for the state to  take back what Milco has destroyed, to invest in the industrial development of small towns, to take the rights of workers seriously, and to ensure food sovereignty in this country. It is absurd for a government that proclaims solidarity with the Palestinian people to have given Milco a free pass to exploit South African resources and extract profits. It is long overdue that the government put its money where its mouth is. The disinvestment of CBC must be enforced to kick Apartheid Israel out of South Africa.

 

“We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” These famous words ring no sharper than in the case of Milco’s exploitation of Clover workers. A victory for workers is a defeat for the Zionists. Our freedoms are indeed intertwined, and our demands are clear:

1.      We demand the unconditional re-instatement of all retrenched workers.

2.     We demand the re-instatement of the dismissed Empangeni workers.

3. We demand the complete scrapping of all austerity measures including the 20% salary cuts.

4.     We demand the disinvestment of CBC.

5. We demand the nationalisation Clover SA under workers’ control and its complete


transformation into a co-operative.

 

Details of the Strike Fund:

Account Name: GIWUSA

Bank: Nedbank

Account Number: 1180111508

Account Type: Cheque Account

Branch Code: 10210900

Reference: Strike Support

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