From the TUC

Cape wine workers paid less than £4 a day

13 Feb 2009, By

Some of you may have seen this story in the papers today about the appalling conditions that South African workers are subject to by some in the wine producing sector. As someone known to like a drop of red wine with his blood-red steak and salad, and wine consumption is on the up in the UK (the UK consumes 27% of South African wine production) I thought I would just bring it to your attention. The report by War on Want  www.waronwant.org/campaigns/supermarkets/wine-industry/inform/16458-sour-grapes highlights the harsh conditions that wine workers are under, much of it caused by the demand for cheap wine supplies by UK supermarkets.  War on Want worked with Sikhula Sonke, which it describes as a sector trade union, to produce the report. But Sikhula Sonke, while it may be doing good work, is not a recognised trade union and some would describe it as more of an NGO. Sikhula Sonke is not affiliated to COSATU and has no dialogue with COSATU. I would suggest that trade unionist wanting to find out more about the plight of South African wine workers should contact the FAWU through this link. www.cosatu.org.za/affiliates/affifawu.htm    

Here in the UK you can ask your local supermarket if they are part of the Wine Ethical Trade Initiative www.wieta.org.za   (this was set up through the Ethical Trade Initiative), Tesco seem particularly good on this, and look out for WETI signs when buying South African wine. If you would like  to read the article in the Guardian (yes I am your typical wine drinking, steak eating, Guardian reading, and therefore middle-class, trade unionist) click here http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/feb/13/cape-wine-employment-conditions