Wine of South Africa (WOSA) hits back in human rights row

on 24/08/11 at 12:43 pm

Wine

Wine of South Africa (WOSA) has condemned a “biased” investigation into human rights abuses in South African vineyards.

According to the report, many workers are forced to live in pig sties, are denied access to safety equipment, while employers ignore basic labour rights.

WOSA chief executive Su Birch said that while the organisation doesn’t condone any form of human rights abuse, the report could be unfairly damaging for the country’s wine industry.

Birch stressed that the report had the potential to do great harm to the industry that is already battling in the face of a strong rand and a protracted global economic downturn, without the benefit of the government support that its global competitors enjoy.

“Ironically, it could also jeopardise the jobs of the very people it claims to be championing,” she said.

“In the interests of the continuity of the industry and its capacity to create employment and sustainably improved working conditions, the wine sector deserves to be monitored with fairness and not to be undermined by assertions based on what appears to be random anecdotal evidence.

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