The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) would like to see speedier implementation of aspects of the poultry master plan, particularly in relation to job creation, skills development and transformation.
The union also supports the poultry industry’s application for anti-dumping duties against Brazil and four European Union countries because it aligns with the master plan objectives of reducing chicken imports and expanding local production and job creation.
FAWU is the majority union in the poultry sector, and its Deputy General Secretary, Vuka Chonco, is one of those who signed it in November 2019. In an interview with FairPlay, Chonco said the level of chicken imports was too high and the government should give more protection to South African companies. “We must make sure that we produce our food in our own country and that our economy is protected,” he said.
On skills development – an important segment of the master plan – Chonco said workers needed to be given skills that would enable them not only to advance within the workplace, but also to be able to move to other sectors or start their own businesses.
South Africa also needed more independent black farmers, in addition to the contract farmers provided for in the master plan. “Contract farmers are not independent. We want to see more independent black farmers,” he said.
Chonco said master plan implementation had been delayed, particularly by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Now every effort needed to be made to ensure that the master plan target of more than 3 900 new jobs by 2023 was achieved. So far the union had been told that just over 1 000 jobs had been created, but it had not been given details.
“While we commend the jobs created, we still need to ascertain that these jobs are relatively well secured and as such are permanent and not just temporary jobs. They must decent jobs,” he said. The matter was being taken up with the industry body, the SA Poultry Association.