Wines of South Africa protests Guardian 'boycott' poll

  • Monday 28 January 2013

Wines of South Africa has condemned the Guardian newspaper's poll on a South African wine boycott as 'unfair'and 'damaging'.

Guardian

The online poll in the Guardian asks readers, ‘Will you boycott South African wine?'

An explanatory paragraph says, ‘Agricultural union leaders in South Africa are calling for consumers to boycott wine, grapes and granny smith apples as workers protest against pay and conditions. Many of the 500,000 farm workers on the western Cape are demanding a pay rise from £4.92 to £10.62 a day – will you join the boycott?’

The poll, which is linked to the paper’s news stories covering the South African strikes, resulted in 1012 (59%) ‘Yes’ votes and (707) 41% ‘No’ votes.

There are 140 comments from readers, many supporting a boycott.

Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa, says in her open lettter to the Guardian, ‘The coverage unfairly targets the South African wine industry and has the potential to do unimaginable damage to an industry that is working hard, through its support of the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Association (WIETA), and also Fairtrade, to ensure the ethical treatment of workers.’

She reiterates her argument – as reported on Decanter.com – that the strike action ‘does not appear to be connected to the wine industry…It is also worth noting that the ruling party, ANC, and trade union Cosato have called for an end to the strikes.'

She adds, ‘Whilst we acknowledge that work is still to be done, South Africa is the largest producer of Fair Trade wines in the world and the initiatives by WIETA are making real, tangible progress that puts South Africa at the forefront of ethical, social sustainability.’

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