CSAAWU: Plea for assistance

Help keep CSAAWU’s doors open – An injury to one is an injury to all!


Dear Comrades,

We are writing to you out of solidarity for CSAAWU, a union based amongst farmworkers in South Africa with which we have relations. In 2012/3 South African farmworkers rebelled against the deplorable conditions in the sector – for which hundreds were dismissed and victimized. CSAAWU is one of the few unions that organises in this difficult and under-represented industry. In the aftermath of the rebellion it took a decision to take up the struggle, including by defending close to 100 workers in the labour court.

Unfortunately the union lost two of the cases and has been issued with cost orders in excess of R600 000 (US$ 53 500 or EUR 43 000). This is a very high amount in South Africa, one that is potentially fatally crippling for a smaller union like CSAAWU. (Anyone needing more information can have a look at this article)

We are therefore forwarding you their plea (see below) and hope that you will consider supporting their request for help. Please also considering forwarding this to sympathetic organisations and/or publishing it widely.

Red and Black regards,


Original message:

Dear Friends and Comrades

In the coming months CSAAWU may be forced to close its doors.

It will be a devastating defeat for CSAAWU members and farmworkers in South Africa for many years to come if CSAAWU can’t be saved! We need many hands (bodies and hearts) on board to keep CSAAWU doors open!

CSAAWU made a decision to defend all farmworkers who were dismissed or victimized in the aftermath of the 2012/3 farmworker rebellion. Amongst CSAAWU members alone, there were close to 100 dismissal cases. CSAAWU went as far as to take dismissal cases to the Labour Court. This was the first time since 1994 that farmworkers were heard in the Labour Court.

The Labour Court issued devastating judgements against the dismissed workers and CSAAWU. CSAAWU lost two of the cases and cost orders were awarded against the union. The judgement rebuked individual union officials for supporting the strike, deeming this reckless and irresponsible behaviour. CSAAWU paid a high price for its position to support the struggle of farmworkers. CSAAWU believes that it can never be wrong for a union to support the strike action workers, especially the most vulnerable workers, when they stand up against their exploitative conditions.

The cost orders of R600,000 against the union could force the union to close its doors unless we all build solidarity and support for CSAAWU!

CSAAWU is developing a fundraising website. We are collecting testimonials of our members for the website and would also like to publicise statements from organizations/individuals in support of keeping CSAAWU doors open!

Please email us your words of support, encouraging others to stand in solidarity with CSAAWU! Feel free to contact us if you need more information.

The fundraising campaign and website will be launched in the coming weeks. Watch out for it!


“CSAAWU means everything to me. CSAAWU taught me to believe in myself and showed us how important we are farmworkers are. CSAAWU’s doors can’t be closed because it will break the workers confidence. Long live CSAAWU!” (Mercia Plaatjies, Koo).

Follow CSAAWU on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vivacsaawu

Dismissed farmworkers supported by CSAAWU

Dismissed farmworkers supported by CSAAWU

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