Chicken Industry

Chicken industry players flock together over dumping

Photo: RCL managing director Scott Pitman, the SA Poultry Association’s Charlotte Nkuna, FairPlay founder Baird Francois and Fawu secretary Katishi Masemola sign a pledge to work together. Picture: Sam Coom


DURBAN – MISTRUST between government and the private sector has led to massive job loses in the chicken industry.


This was according to Scott Pitman, the managing director of Rainbow Chicken, speaking at the signing of a pledge between FairPlay, the SA Poultry Association, the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) and RCL Foods in Durban yesterday.


Pitman said it was painful bidding farewell to 1 350 workers retrenched at their Hammarsdale farm due to “chicken dumping” from the European countries and Brazil.


“The retrenched workers were the best kind of people – it was not that they were lazy or that it was the management’s fault. It was an uncontrollable situation. But when an unfair practice happens we need to stand up against it,” Pitman said.


“The distrust between private sector and government has done more harm, but we have started to improve relations,” he said.


Pitman said “chicken dumping” had cost the country 5 000 jobs and represented a face of misery for those affected.


“If we can do away with dumping of leg quarters, we can create more than 30 000 jobs. What we want is no favours but play it fair.”


Rainbow had lost about R60 million in the past five years.


Trade and Industries Minister Rob Davies was expected at the event but did not arrive.


Fawu secretary-general Katishi Masemola said about 30 000 jobs were at stake. He said Fawu supported the idea by eThekwini municipality of buying farms, but warned that the process should be transparent and called for retrenched workers to be prioritised for jobs.


Meanwhile, the founder of FairPlay, Baird Francois, said dumping did not comply with the rule of law.


“We are going to take this fight to European countries. We cannot rest until this fight is over. We are grateful government has committed itself,” he said.


Nkululeko Nene


First Published in IOL Sunday Tribune on 7 May 2017