The South African trade union CSAAWU (Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union) is awarded The Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2017 due to their constant struggle for the underpaid, overworked and discriminated workers of South African vineyards.
CSAAWU receives the prize for their constant fight for decent working conditions for severely exploited workers, and their ability to organize a grassroots movement with very limited resources.
General secretary of CSAAWU, Trevor Christians, express both surprise and appreciation in a statement issued by the union.
– It is with great excitement and disbelief to hear the news that CSAAWU has won the Arthur Svensson International trade union prize. This is indeed a huge recognition, not only for CSAAWU, but for all farmworkers and the poor in the rural land of South Africa.
International attention and solidarity
CSAAWU is a young union, yet has already launched two important strikes. Several important battles remain in the struggle for fair and just working conditions.
Leif Sande is the chair of the prize committee and president of the Norwegian union Industri Energi. In a comment, he states that he hopes this year’s prize can direct international attention to the working conditions of the South African farmworkers.
– We cannot accept working conditions that resembles those of slavery. The CSAAWU does an amazing job at organizing workers even thought their resources are limited. We will stand with our South African friends in solidarity, says Leif Sande.
For the full statement of the jury: Official statement of the jury 2017