FAWU to protest against poultry imports in SA
THE Food and Allied Workers Union(Fawu) on Friday (today) vowed to continue mass protests against poultry imports in 2017, dismissing a recent import tariff hike as being too little, too late.
Fawu national secretary Katisha Masemola said in a statement released on Friday that it welcomed a recently gazetted 13.9 percent safeguard duty on imports of bone-in chicken (chicken thighs and drumsticks) on imports from the European Union and the United Kingdom.
However, while being “a step in the right direction” it was not enough.
“Whilst increased tariff hikes, safeguard duties and anti-dumping measures are welcomed interventions, we nevertheless have qualms in their short-term nature and in their little-impact effect and hence our call for a review of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), between South Africa and EU as well as the bilateral trade between RSA with UK, on the issue of trade in poultry produce and products.”
Masemola said that a review of the EPA between the two nations should result in imported chicken being priced at the average cost of production and not a subsidized cost of production.
Such a review should result in barriers to SA poultry exports to the EU and the UK or that South Africa should be allowed to apply similar barriers to imports from the EU and UK.
“As Fawu, we will continue campaigning against the dumping of chicken for compelling and justifiable reasons.”
He said that the dumping of chicken on the South African market affected the country’s food security, eliminated local manufacturing jobs and contributed to unemployment in a country that already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
“Given that our country’s poultry industry constitute less than 1% of the world’s total chicken output yet the growth of EU dumped chickens has pushed the share of foreign chicken to local consumption to between 30% and 35% at any given time and this may rise to 40% if nothing meaningful to protect our industry is done.”
He said that a South African poultry company, which he did not name was set to retrench about 1250 workers in January when it closes one of its three remaining processing works.
“The third biggest company will be retrenching 1 500 in few months’ time and these figures may rise going into the future. There have been several thousands of jobs lost in small-to-medium scale chicken companies over the last few months and years such that a number of them have completely closed down or substantially shrunk their operations.”
He said Fawu would stage protest marches going to offices of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as marches to embassies of the EU and the UK in the new year. – ANA