South Africa: International solidarity secures wages at Staedtler amid lockdown

10 April 2020 02:42

CEPPWAWU scored a big victory this week after it applied pressure using the IFA with Staedtler to secure workers their full wages during the COVID-19 shutdown imposed in South Africa.

The Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) said that while Staedtler SA complied with the shutdown, the company planned to provide its workers only 7 percent of their monthly salaries. CEPPWAWU condemned the wage cut as an alarming violation of workers’ rights and sent a letter to Staedtler SA, requesting a meeting to discuss the drastic reduction of workers’ salaries. However, the company failed to respond to the request.

CEPPWAWU then reached out to the BWI as Staedtler SA had violated the International Framework Agreement (IFA) it signed with the BWI and German affiliate, IG Metal. The union explained that the IFA mandates Staedtler to fulfil its obligations to its workforce by respecting national employment laws and regulations concerning regular employment, wages and social protection. 

The BWI took action on the matter and coordinated an intervention with IG Metal at Staedtler’s headquarters in Germany. Staedtler has since abandoned its plan to impose wage cuts in South Africa and pledged to pay its workers their full wages during the lockdown period.

CEPPWAWU thanked BWI for its swift action and BWI General Secretary, Ambet Yuson, responded saying; “More than ever, solidarity is important to protect workers’ rights and welfare. The BWI and our affiliates will continue to demand companies take care of their workers during this difficult time."