CSAAWU is a small union in the Robertson area in the Western Cape, fighting to highlight the plight of rural workers who speak out against dehumanising labour conditions.
The right to speak out, and freedom of association, are anything but guaranteed for rural workers: there is an emerging pattern of victimisation as rural whistleblowers are isolated, targeted and dismissed. In an effort to highlight how this basic freedom-of-expression issue is linked so directly to people’s livelihoods, CSAAWU launched the Speak-Out Campaign.
In the statement below, they call for support at a meeting on Sunday 9 September in Robertson with shop stewards and leading workers to discuss strategies to deal with the intimidation and threats that endanger the future of the Speak-Out Campaign and CSAAWU. They also call for legal assistance and solidarity outside the Cape Town Magistrate Court on Friday 14 September, as CSAAWU office-bearers face litigation that they say is an attempt to silence ‘trouble-makers’ who are speaking out against injustice:
CSAAWU: Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural & Allied Workers Union
04 September 2012
To All Progressive Forces
In the past few weeks we have seen the escalation of attacks on the working class by bosses and the state that protects them. We have seen the state massacre workers on strike fighting for a living wage. This is not an isolated instance of attack against the working class but rather an ongoing feature of a system that puts profit before human needs. Structural violence is committed against workers everyday – they are forced to suffer abuse, poverty wages, unemployment, ill health and intolerable living conditions. Brutal repression is used against workers when they stand up against this.
This happens on the mines, in factories, on farms … CSAAWU has come under attack many times from bosses for organizing farm workers. CSAAWU’s Speak-Out Campaign aims to bring an end to the oppression and exploitation of farm workers and farm dwellers by coming together to build solidarity, strength and hope amongst the rural working class. Workers are intimidated and threatened when they join the union, when they build their organization, when they speak out against abuses. A farmer has laid false charges of intent to do grievous bodily harm and assault against two farm workers and CSAAWU’s assistant General Secretary respectively.
Attacks on the organization and lives of workers cannot go unchallenged. The foundation of any working class struggle is solidarity. We need to make real the slogan ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’.
- Join the Mass March at 10am on Saturday 8th of September from Keizergracht Street to parliament in protest against Marikana massacre as part of the national and international day of action.
- Join the Right2Know rally against the Secrecy Bill at 1pm on Saturday 8th of September, Central Methodist Church, Greenmarket Sq. Demand No secrets! No lies!
- We invite all progressive forces to attend a meeting on Sunday 9th of September in Roberson with its shop stewards and leading workers to discuss a way forward to deal with the intimidation and threats that endanger the future of the Speak-Out Campaign and CSAAWU.
- We call for legal assistance and solidarity outside the Cape Town Magistrate Court on Friday the 14th of September. Stand with CSAAWU against repression and attacks on the working class.
Enough is enough!
Stand in solidarity against attacks on the working class!
- For more information contact CSAAWU at email@example.com; phone 0835462911.
- To make solidarity donations to CSAAWU: Bank: Standard Bank; Account number: 072003596; Account name: CSAAWU; Branch name: Tyger Manor; Branch code: 050410
More about CSAAWU in this video: