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Press Room  |  Top Story of The Day

Last updated: 04 October 2017

FAWU Statement On Aviation Flu Outbreak

4 October 2017

The Food and Allied Workers` Union is distraught by the current aviation or "bird" flu epidemic currently experienced by many chicken farmers around the country. Hundreds of thousands of chickens had to be culled to prevent the epidemic from spreading and this has dire consequences for our members, the poultry industry, food prices and in general for all vulnerable workers.

The impact of this flu is extremely distressing as it is believed we will in all likelihood experience a rise in the cost of poultry and egg prices resulting in far-reaching consequences for poorer households who rely on chicken as their main source of animal protein. The drought experienced in certain areas in the country has already led to an increase in feed prices earlier this year and this has led to an even bigger strain on food prices.

In this regard, we welcome the announcement of an aid plan by Western Cape Environmental Affairs MEC, Anton Bredell, in partnership with the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) to provide humanitarian relief for those farm labourers who have found themselves in difficulty after hundreds of thousands chickens on poultry producing farms had to be culled in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. We encourage other provinces affected to follow the province`s approach.

While it seems that there was little farmers could do to contain this crisis as it is an airborne disease with devastating consequences for even the most cautious farmer. Worsening matters is that many poultry farms are situated in close proximity to each other, further exacerbating the situation.

We urge government, the poultry sector and all relevant stakeholders, including labour to come together to form an urgent action plan to further address the dire consequences of this epidemic.

FAWU will be watching the situation closely as many of our members` jobs will be severely affected by the adverse economic impact of this crisis.

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