Poultry (Chicken)

Chicken is one of the principal food (protein) sources in South Africa.  The poultry-producing sector, therefore, produces several million chickens for the consumer market daily.  All of this depends on chickens being produced on an industrial scale, starting with hatcheries, broilers (where the chicks are raised), processing & packaging plants (abattoirs), and distribution.  Several big players in the market include Rainbow Chickens, Early Bird Chickens, Festive Chicks, Chubby Chicks and a number of others.  Although SAEWA and FAWU are the only two significantly representative trade unions in this sector, there remains thousands more workers to be organised.  One important factor that requires workers to be well organised in the poultry sector is the recent import of poultry meat from overseas, mainly Brazil.  South Africa is part of an international trades agreement, commonly referred to as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  In terms of this Agreement, some products can be imported and exported between these countries with no or limited taxes, duties or fees.  Thus, South African distributors have started to import poultry products from Brazil during the past few years.  It is, therefore, possible to import certain “cuts”, such as thighs & “drumsticks” cheaper than the cost at which it can be produced locally.  Naturally, this will reduce the market for South African producers which will result in job losses.  As an active union in this sector, SAEWA is rising to this challenge by recruiting as many members as possible so that we can build a strong support that can resist cheaply imported chicken.  We are doing this by petitioning many stakeholders, including government, to control and limit imports and, in doing so, save thousands of jobs!

If you would like to find out more. We’re happy to help.

Contact SAEWA