The Way South African Wineland Workers Fight For Their Rights Using A Global Network

The Way South African Wineland Workers Fight For Their Rights Using A Global Network

Echoes of apartheid-style manipulation of employees have resurfaced lately in South Africa. Debates about these malpractices have been given new impetus four years back with the launch of a documentary, Bitter Grapes.

Bitter Grapes throw light onto wide-ranging manipulation. Hardships included safety and health violations, underpayment of wages, and illegal attempts by manufacturers to restrict trade union accessibility on farms. These states sit uneasily together with South Africa’s innovative constitution.

At a recent study paper I summarized the situation for increased optimism about working conditions on wine farms due in part to the activism that helped produce the documentary.

Employee’s Networked Activism

All are significant wine areas. The effort uses local understanding of requirements in winelands from the Global South. Then the movie has established key in generating regulatory reforms.

The effects of Bitter Grapes reflects a way to link activists in various areas connected to common businesses. The connections between South Africa and Scandinavia aren’t incidental. Nordic nations consume around 10 percent of South African wine exports. They possess the sole permit for selling alcohol onto the high roads of Norway and Sweden. Both authorities have faced pressure to regulate supply chains that are directly financed by tax payers.

In my paper I analyzed how labor can utilize networks to make public pressure on governments and companies to better regulate distribution chains. This has the capacity to improve operational standards and chances. Specifically, I look at changes in the law of work states which have led.


A number of modifications to wine farm law have emerged because Bitter Grapes on the rear of political and ethical appeals to European customers.

The initial set of modifications is all about formal state-led labour reviews. Following Bitter Grapes the Southern African labor inspectorate researched (and confirmed) several promises made in the documentary. Afterward, the inspectorate has shown greater interest in the rural sector, and it has dedicated to more conversation with trade unions in collecting intelligence about employee misuse.

Second, there are significant changes in the personal regulation of wine manufacturers. It’s responded to issues by committing to auditing farms frequently. And it is agreed to utilize a more transparent grading method. This change means that badly performing farms are now faced with a real trading threat. Farms getting a very low score within an audit are currently — in theory — not to have the ability to market products to significant retailers in Europe.

For their own part, Vinmonopolet and Systembolaget have sought to enhance standards in wine manufacturing through additional approaches. Vinmonopolet commissioned a series of independent studies and developed a brand new eight-point assessment for manufacturers to stick to. Findings confirmed a range of”critical” dangers in a number of wine farms.

Systembolaget, meanwhile, has recently embraced a new and innovative approach to reporting criteria offenses ravaged from the Swedish trade union Unionen. The memorandum is meant to encourage marriages on the floor and provides a reporting mechanism for marriages working on the earth in South Africa, finally feeding data back to Systembolaget in Sweden.

Lessons Learnt

The development of innovative labour legislation is vital in securing improved standards of work. But legislation in themselves remain restricted in their efficacy in businesses where employees are isolated and concealed, and in which inspectorates struggle to attend the job realities on the floor.

That is why regulation is so essential.

The case study I’ve done shows that employees are capable of affecting both public and private forms of law in their pursuits. This requires the introduction of customer boycotts, in addition to provide lines of stress from inside corporate networks that manufacturers will fight to dismiss.

Employees not just create pressure to reform legislation and regulation: they could help determine the plans for policing labour criteria also, such as by obtaining the labor inspectorate to be more lively.

In this case workers have aided re-orientate regulatory agencies from only nudging businesses to improve states towards a more powerful regulatory version with a threat of sanction.

Others might learn from the collaborative networks which were formed.

Despite this favorable story it’s necessary to stress that the task of improving labor standards in South African American is far from completed. Problems like evictions of employees as well as the over-reliance of casual labor (frequently via labor brokers) aren’t typically addressed by labour inspectorates or personal codes of behavior.

The demand for multinational worker activism in monitoring labor standards is guaranteed to stay relevant.