FairPlay founder Francois Baird recalled that the decision to close the plant and retrench workers was announced in 2016. FairPlay came into being soon afterwards.
“FairPlay was founded with two main objectives – to stand on the side of the people by opposing trade dumping and by supporting workers and communities affected by the job losses that dumping causes. By the time the Hammarsdale doors closed and the workers lost their jobs in February 2017, the FairPlay campaign was well underway,” Baird said in a statement.
“Workers, labour unions and management, including the then CEO of Rainbow, Scott Pitman, joined in a march to the Department of Trade and Industry, protesting at continued chicken dumping.
“We marched again, this time to the offices of the European Union in Pretoria, because the EU was then the principal source of dumped chicken imports into South Africa. We brought to the attention of the public and of government the plight of workers who had lost their jobs. We opposed the export of those jobs to the EU and Brazil.
“We appealed to the President and to government ministers. We highlighted the situation in news articles and interviews, at a Social Summit and in webinars. We launched a Cry for Action, listing the poultry operations that had closed, with the loss of 6 000 jobs, because of chicken dumping.
“We supported the sugar industry’s fight against dumped sugar imports, reminding the country that other industries were being hammered by dumping,” Baird said.
“We supported calls for a poultry master plan where labour, government and chicken producers could work out a new future for the poultry industry. We opposed the decision to delay for 12 months the anti-dumping duties that were needed because the master plan had come into operation but was behind schedule and the industry was still in distress.”
Baird said the fight against dumping was not over and “the battle continues, because dumping continues”.
The Hammarsdale re-opening “encourages us to keep on fighting against unfair and illegal trade, and for workers and their jobs”.