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    Clover boycott heats up in Pick n Pay

    Tensions ran high at a Pick n Pay store in Observatory, Cape Town this week when protesters calling for a boycott of Clover products were involved in a scuffle with store workers.

    Speaking to IOL, one of the managers at the branch said that the protesters’ plan was to block the tills from being used and ultimately bring business to a halt.

    According to a Cape Argus/IOL reporter who captured footage of the incident, the protesters filled trolleys with Clover products and put stickers on the products calling for consumers to boycott the dairy brand.

    The stickers included statements such as "This festive season there will be no Christmas for Clover workers” with hashtags such as #BoycottClover, #NationaliseCloverUnderWorkersControl, #WorkersNeedWayBetter and #StopMilkingWorkers.

    Protesters also stuck up posters on shelves urging consumers to "stand in solidarity with striking workers and the people of Palestine".

    According to the Cape Argus reporter, protesters said that in the forthcoming days they might target additional retailers that sell Clover products.

    Clover has been hit by a strike since November, with workers protesting against wage cuts, retrenchments and corporate restructuring, which has followed after the R4.8bn takeover of Clover by Milco SA in 2019. Milco is headed by Israeli company Central Bottling Company (CBC), a manufacturer and distributor of soft drinks, dairy products and alcoholic beverages.

    In addition to the reinstatement of dismissed and retrenched workers, and scrapping of salary cuts, strikers want Clover to be independent of CBC, which owns Clover through its subsidiary Milco SA.

    Clover workers belonging to the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) have been calling for clarity on the payment of bonuses to workers who were retrenched at the end of last year. They've demanded the complete scrapping of all austerity measures including 20% salary cuts, and the disinvestment of CBC.

    The unions led a picket at Clover on Monday, which was attended by union members and striking Clover workers.

    Unions scored one victory against the dairy company this week after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ordered Clover to pay a 13th cheque owed to approximately 2,200 striking employees. Clover SA has reportedly promised that overdue bonuses would be paid by no later than Friday, 14 January.

    Despite the CCMA order, the strike is ongoing.

    According to News24, Milco SA committed to creating 550 jobs within five years following the approval of the Clover merger, and agreed to a moratorium on the retrenchment of 516 positions for a period of three years. However, unions claim that 2,000 employees have been retrenched and that another 1,000 workers were vulnerable to job cuts.

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