Sudáfrica - Workers at Truda foods locked in ongoing labour dispute

Truda Foods in Komani (Queenstown) is accused of imposing bad working conditions, managerial arrogance, bullying and of undermining unions. According to the Komani Residents’ Association (Kora), the South African Security and Allied Workers’ Union (SASWU), and the workers suspended by the employer, the workers at the factory are exploited and live in fear of being dismissed. The company has denied the allegations levelled against it. 
Xolani Ngxathu from Kora explained that Truda Foods workers had been picketing outside the Komani factory to demand a meeting with the company CEO, as the management was not keeping its promises. The company CEO, Colin van Heerden, denied this, claiming that he first learnt that the workers wanted to meet him via a radio programme. 
Workers have also been charged and suspended over ’’liking’’ a Facebook page critical of the company. Olwethu Samente, a maintenance worker and the chairperson for the South African Security and Allied Workers’ Union (SASWU), is one of the people who were charged and suspended. “We were suspended with immediate effect and the charge was for liking a Facebook post of Kora.” 
On Wednesday 9 December 2020, the suspended workers appeared in the Port Elizabeth Labour Court to oppose the final interdict against them. Since 5 November, they have faced a new charge of contempt of court. According to Xolile Mashukuca, the general secretary of SASWU, the contempt of court charge will be heard on 5 February 2021. “Our lawyers and company lawyers have reached an agreement to facilitate a meeting between the workers and the company before the next court appearance,” he said.

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