Urgent call for solidarity!
WASP will not be Intimidated by Spineless Capitalist Tactics
Last week we released a statement in solidarity with striking workers employed at frozen vegetables and chips manufacturer Nature’s Garden in Alberton. Since 12 August, more than 300 members of the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) have been engaged in a protected strike with the company’s management over a living wage and an end to outsourcing.
Two days later, we received a letter from the company’s lawyers demanding that we immediately take down our statement, which we refused.
Nature’s Garden is now seeking an urgent interdict against the Workers and Socialist Party, as the first respondent, along with GIWUSA and SAFTU, as second and third respondents. They claim that our statement of solidarity is defamatory. In other words, the company says we are damaging their brand by publicly supporting the striking workers. The bosses would rather hide behind expensive lawyers and lawsuits than come to the negotiation table with their employees. It is clear that they prefer the classic capitalist tactic of intimidating the working class to silence us rather than face the reality of their super-exploitation of workers.
There is no doubt that we will fight this.
It is not only to defend our own words as WASP, or to continue garnering support for the GIWUSA workers fighting for better conditions; it is to defend the voice of the worker in the class struggle itself. If this interdict is granted, it would be a level of censorship of the labour movement unprecedented in post-Apartheid South Africa. It would be censorship of the values that underscored the mighty struggle against Apartheid by the labour movement. Even worse, it could mean that any comments on the legacy of Apartheid and the structure of capitalism would be open to suppression. Language used by workers, trade unions and community activists in protest would fall under ‘defamation’ and be brutally silenced.
The court hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday 25 August (more details will be communicated). We are calling on the solidarity of the movement as a whole to support WASP, GIWUSA, and SAFTU. We also appeal for financial support for our defense fund.
This is a serious political opportunity to raise our banner high as workers, not only defending the rights of the working class that were won through struggle in the past, but also to draw people to the fight we still face moving forward. It is clear the bosses are using every tool in their arsenal to repress the brewing revolt from the working class. When the increasingly pro-employer Labour Relations Act changes are exhausted, they move to these tactics to silence and intimidate. We have to be organised to fight back.
We will not bow down to the bosses’ dirty tactics and repressive efforts! If they have resources to waste on aggressive SLAPP suits like this, they have money to pay the workers a living wage and insource those who are labour brokered!
So once again, and we shout it from the rooftops:
We stand with workers striking for the conditions that they deserve.
We stand with the working class as it continues to shake the chains of capitalism.
We will not stop fighting until we see the birth of a socialist world, free from exploitation.
And we will not be intimidated.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about the case as well as enquiries regarding financial support for our defense fund.
Documents regarding the case can be found here.