Solidarity today announced that it is in talks with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) about impending retrenchments that could pose a direct threat to South Africa’s food security. This comes after Solidarity received a letter from the organisation indicating that ARC is seriously considering retrenching approximately 1 000 of its employees.
“It is perturbing that ARC is prepared to retrench skilled employees and by doing this to jeopardise the entire country’s food security,” Peirru Marx, sector coordinator at Solidarity said. “What is even more alarming is that these retrenchments are on the table in the midst of a crisis that is already posing a threat to food security and access to food.”
Solidarity has already indicated that it will enter into talks with ARC to find the best possible solution to the situation. The trade union has already submitted a turnaround strategy to ARC, which was met with little interest.
“It is a pity that a once proud and successful organisation has ended up in such a situation, but to see it refusing to accept help by pressing on with a decision that not only affects its employees but will negatively affect the rest of the country is a sad state of affairs. What is even more shocking is that it is a state institution and that, by law, the government is responsible for food security for its citizens and for their access to food,” Marx contends.
According to Solidarity, it cannot deny the need for restructuring, but it cannot support the retrenchment of about 1 000 employees. Solidarity’s goal is to protect its members in this regard and to mitigate the extent and impact of this situation on its members to the best of its ability.
“We will protect our members’ rights and will offer them the necessary support. We will engage with ARC to find the best possible solution. We are serious when it comes to job security and food security, even if it is not taken seriously by the employer and the government and so we will not let up fighting,” Marx concluded.
Issued by Solidarity