Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Defend 5,000 Striking South African Clover Workers

Thursday, January 27, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
San Francisco Israeli Consulate
456 Montgomery St San Francisco, CA 94104

Global Day of Action
Defend 5,000 Striking South African Clover Dairy Workers
Rallies In New York, Los Angeles & San Francisco At Israeli Consulates
Thursday Jan 27, 2022
12:00 Noon
San Francisco Israeli Consulate
456 Montgomery St San Francisco, CA 94104
Los Angeles Israeli Consulate
6380 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
New York Israeli Consulate
800 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Clover is the largest dairy company in South Africa with 5,000 workers. In 2019, the ANC government allowed it to be taken over by the Israeli billionaire Wertheim family. They promised to protect jobs until October 2022, but they are now laying off thousands and shutting plants in rural communities with plans to import Israeli product. The company also imposed a 20% cut in wages.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions, General Industrial Union of South Africa, and Food and Allied Workers union are also demanding that the company be nationalized and that it be run under workers control. They are also supporting an international day of solidarity action.

Actions will be held at Israeli consulates, embassies, South African consulates, embassies, and the Israeli bank Mizrahi Tefahot which is owned by the Wertheim family and is the third largest bank in Israel.

The Wertheim family also control the Coca-Cola franchise through the Central Bottling Company, CBC.

They support and fund Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and the Israeli Defense Forces. They also have a Coca-Cola plant on Palestinian land.

On January 18th, in an escalation of the attacks on striking workers by Clover bosses, rubber bullets were fired at workers injuring them at the Clover Clayville plant in Johannesburg. The use of rubber bullets by Clover’s private security forces is linked up directly with the treatment of Palestinians except they use bullets to terrorize and murder Palestinians.

Workers’ demands are clear:

1. The unconditional re-instatement of all retrenched workers

2. The complete scrapping of all austerity measures including the 20% salary cuts

3. The disinvestment of Milco SA/CBC

4. Nationalization of Clover SA and its complete trans- formation into a co-operative run by workers and com- munities.

Initiated by
United Front Committee For A Labor Party UFCLP (
Endorsed by
Higher Education Action Team HEAT (
Pacifica Fightback (
Freedom Socialist Party (
Workers World Party
Socialist Action

Additional Information:

South African Clover strike | Fight against restructuring & growing international solidarity

Clover & The Class War In South Africa With GIWUSA President Mametlwe Sebei
5,000 South African workers are on strike against the Israeli owned Clover Dairy company and are facing a massive union busting attack including mass layoffs and wage cuts according to the General Industrial Workers
Union Of South Africa GIWUSA president Mametlwe Sebei. He discusses the role of the company as the largest dairy company in South Africa and the take-over by the billionaire Israeli Wertheim family. The family owns Milco, the Isreal Central Bottling Company CBC which has the franchise in Israel for Coca-Cola and the Mizrahi bank which is the third largest
bank in Israel.
According to Sebei, despite protests from SAFTU, COSATU, GIWUSA and the Food and Allied Workers Union along with the South African Palestinian solidarity movement the ANC
Ramaphosa government approved the sale to this Israeli company. The company funds racist rightwing parties and the Israeli Defense Forces IDF reported Sebei and also has funded
settlements in occupied Palestinian lands as well as providing Coca-Cola to these illegal settlements.
The company is shutting down Clover production plants in the country and is planning to import Israeli product to South Africa destroying the rural communities dependent on the
plants and making South Africa reliant on Israel for dairy products.
The unions are calling for nationalization of the company and for workers control to not only protect jobs but the critical food production in South Africa from being destroyed by the Wertheim family.
Sebei and the unions are also calling for an International day of solidarity on January 27, 2022 at all Israeli embassies, consulates, South African embassies and Coca-Cola franchises around the world to show solidarity with their struggle.
This interview was done on 1/17/22
For additional media:
South African Clover Workers Strike & Israeli Billionaires

The Union Busting War Against South African Clover Workers By Israeli Billionaire Family

Clover cancels Christmas to punish striking workers

SA Occupy Israeli Owned Clover to Defeat Factory Closures, Job Losses and Wage Cuts

Members of GIWUSA and FAWU strike for decent annual wage increase.

Day 2 – Members of GIWUSA and FAWU strike for decent annual wage increase

Striking South Africa GIWUSA and FAWU Clover members call for the nationalization of Clover
Striking GIWUSA and FAWU members are calling for among other things, the nationalization
of Clover

South Africa’s largest dairy company forced to shutdown plant after workers test positive for COVID-19

Clover SA workers march to the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria: Charles Phahla

For additional information:
Solidarity with Striking Clover Workers in South Africa!
Production of Labor Video Project

Clover workers call for nationalisation
Striking workers fear that corporate changes at the dairy giant will lead to reduced local production and increased imports of Israeli products.
Pressure is mounting on the government to nationalise dairy giant Clover, to prevent it from potentially becoming a distribution agency for Israeli dairy products.
About 4 000 workers who belong to the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) have been on strike against the majority Israeli-owned company since 22 November.
Giwusa and Fawu are holding mass rallies on Saturday 8 January at Cathedral Hall in Johannesburg and Community House in Cape Town with their support organisations – the Workers & Socialist Party (Wasp), Media Review Network, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, One Voice Of All Hawkers Association and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions coalition – to demand that Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel nationalise Clover immediately.
Clover was established in 1898 but Milco, a subsidiary of the Israeli Central Bottling Company (CBC), bought 60% of Clover in 2019 with the approval of the South African government and the Competition Commission.
At the time, Clover chief executive Johann Vorster said the takeover showed that international investment could result in job creation, “huge investment” and “export opportunities”, as well as facilitate South Africans being able to work overseas.
Those jobs never materialised. “The government supported this merger and Milco promised to create 500 jobs, but since they took over about 2 000 workers have lost their jobs and six factories face closure,” said Giwusa president Mametlwe Sebei.
‘The only solution’
Patel has not responded to the unions’ call to nationalise Clover. Sebei said this illustrates the “complete impotence and bankruptcy” of the ANC government.
“We are watching a 120-year-old company, the biggest manufacturer of dairy products in South Africa, being destroyed before our very own eyes. Where factories are being closed, the only solution is for the government to expropriate those factories in order to defend jobs and the local economy,” he added.
Seven weeks into the strike, Clover still refuses to back down on its bid to slash costs by R300 million, with spokesperson Louise Fortuin saying that the company has not changed its position since the strike began.
The unions fear that by closing the inland factories and keeping plants in the port areas open, Milco SA intends to turn Clover into a mere distribution company for Israeli dairy products.
Giwusa general secretary John Appolis recently told United States-based Labor Video Project that Milco was “using the South African market just to extract rapid, short-term profits and to import their own products into our country”.
Fear of dairy dumping
Wasp said “chicken dumping”, whereby an oversupply of overseas chickens were sold in South Africa at below market prices, has shown that cheap imports leads to the collapse of local businesses.
“It is no surprise that the neoliberal, business-friendly ANC will stand by and watch the biggest cheese factory in Africa shut down. Thousands of jobs have already been lost in poultry and grain farming. R6.1 billion leaves the country every year due to poultry imports, according to the South African Poultry Association. This is exactly the future that awaits if we allow the dairy industry to follow a similar path of dismantling our local production capacity and becoming reliant on imports,” said Wasp.
The CBC is owned privately by Israeli citizens David and Drorit Wertheim. It operates one of Coca-Cola’s largest bottling facilities globally. One CBC factory is based in the huge Atarot settlement in Jerusalem, which was built on Palestinian farmland that Israel seized illegally in 1970. Only 20 Palestinian families retained their land and homes in Atarot and are now surrounded by Israeli factories, which “operate up to 24 hours a day, consistently emitting various forms of toxic pollutants into the air”, according to Palestinian public interest law centre Al-Haq.
The Palestinians who live in the area are forced to pay rates to the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, but their homes are “covered with dust and surrounded by garbage disposed of from the surrounding factories”, Al-Haq found. They are forced to use dirt roads and dispose of their own household waste, and are denied connection to the sewerage system, which is for Israeli factories only. Israel frequently seizes their land and fruit trees, and Palestinian children have to walk past Israeli soldiers in the morning on their way to school.
The unions have also asked the Competition Commission to cancel Milco SA’s takeover of Clover, saying the merger was authorised on condition that it did not lead to retrenchments or the do

Solidarity with Striking Clover Workers in South Africa!
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the 5000 Clover workers organised by the General Industries Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), who have been on strike since 22 November 2021.

The vast majority of workers at South Africa's dairy giant, Clover, earn below a living wage despite the soaring profits Clover has boasted over the years. Milco SA, a consortium led by Israel’s Central Bottling Company (Coca-Cola Israel), purchased a majority stake in highly profitable Clover in 2019. Despite the workers’ objection to this, based on solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israeli imperialism, the South African state authorities approved the merger on the basis of “creating jobs” as part of the so-called Masakhane project. Not only have Clover dismantled the project through retrenchments (lay-offs) of workers and managers that are part of it – meaning all 500 new jobs promised are gone – but by bringing their restructuring project, Sencillo, forward over 2 000 jobs have been lost. Clover wants to retrench 300 workers, additionally four branches are proposed to be shut down, adding another 350 jobs lost, not including workers who took the Voluntary Severance Packages (which amount to forced retrenchments). GIWUSA reported that the company wants to relocate the City Deep Branch to Boksburg, risking another 812 job losses.

Media propaganda says Clover is unable to continue its operations due to the “ongoing pandemic” and lack of service delivery in various locations. However, Clover made a sterling $673 million (R10.8 Billion) of revenue by the end of 2020 compared to the $462.3 million (R7.4 Billion) end of 2019. Yet with this job bloodbath, the South African government, who narrowly won the last elections on a mandate of creating jobs, is refusing to hold Clover accountable.

Milco SA's real intentions with Clover are to dismantle the local productive capacity Clover has, while securing the market share and brand loyalty Clover enjoys in South Africa for dairy products and beverages to eventually be imported. This would mean mass job losses and soaring dairy prices for working class communities in South Africa.

The ANC government welcomed the take-over of Clover by Milco SA and turned a blind eye to the violation of international law by CBC with its operation in the occupied territories of Palestine. We are not surprised by this as the ANC government has been the active agent for both national and international capital. With its neo-liberal policies the ANC government placed the interests of capital at the centre of the development of the country. Instead of development and advancement of the lives of the masses, we have seen and experienced the entrenchment of the positions and wealth of the old-apartheid ruling class. Black cheap labour is still the foundation of South African capitalism and the ANC government is the facilitator of the supply of black cheap labour.

Not only are the workers of Clover affected by this brutal pursuit of profits. Many small towns like Lichtenburg in the Northwest, Heilbron and Frankfort in the Free State are going to be impacted with the closure of Clover Branches. Clover, as part of its restructuring strategy, is closing its in-land facilities and moving them to the coastal areas. The local economies of these small towns are going to be devastated because Clover operations form an integral part in relation to economic activity and jobs. Many farmers and farm workers are already feeling the brunt of these closures. With the closing of its facilities Clover has also terminated its milk supply contracts with the local farmers and the latter in turn are abandoning farms and cutting jobs. The security of milk supplies is coming under severe constraints and already the prices of milk are rising. These local towns are not only losing manufacturing capacity but also farming capacity and this is threatening food security.

Workers' demands are clear:

1. The unconditional re-instatement of all retrenched workers
2. The complete scrapping of all austerity measures including the 20% salary cuts
3. The disinvestment of Milco SA/CBC
4. Nationalisation of Clover SA and its complete transformation into a co-operative run by workers and communities.

We urge organisations and individuals to donate to the union’s strike fund (details below) and join in solidarity actions across the world. We are also calling upon people in Southern Africa and the rest of the world too boycott all Clover products.

Clover workers are fighting against imperialist strategies of securing the "market share" to dump products in the neo-colonnial world in the name of securing profits on the backs of super-exploited workers and communities. This is a struggle for the international working class, which holds the most power when standing united against the bosses' drive for increased profits.

The attacks on workers and our communities can only be overcome through uncompromising unity of the international working class. We call for principled unity in labour and progressive movements behind the striking Clover workers.

When workers use their collective organisation to fight and win, it lights a beacon to workers everywhere seeking to improve their conditions, showing that as an organised working class we have a world to win.

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Details for Clover Workers' strike fund:

PayPal: workerssolidarityfund [at]

or Bank Deposit:

Account name: GIWUSA
Bank: Nedbank
Account No: 1180111508
Account type: Cheque account
Branch Code: 10210900
Reference: Strike Support

SWIFT CODE for intl donations: NEDSZAJJ
Added to the calendar on Sun, Jan 23, 2022 12:56AM
§Growing Support For Clover Workers In South Africa
There is growing support for the 5,000 striking Clover workers in South Africa and the connection with the apartheid regime in Israel is connecting the links.
§Clover Strikers On The Streets Of Johannesburg
The unions are demanding the nationalization of Clover and for it to be run under democratic workers control. They also are calling for International solidarity action globally at all Israeli consulates, South African consulates, Mizrahi bank branches and Coca-Cola franchises. The Israeli billionaires Dave and Dorit Wertheim own the Israeli Central Bottling Company which has the Coca-Cola franchise for Israel.
§International Day Of Action
by repost
Graphic For January 27, 2022 International Day of Action
Graphic For Global Day Of Action
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$55.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network