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South African winemakers accused of human rights abuses

A report by Human Rights Watch accuses wine producers of human rights abuses in South African vineyards in the Western Cape region showing some workers being forced to live in pig sties without access to safety equipment or basic labour rights. The report documents conditions in the region with families being exposed to pesticides, having no access to toilets or drinking water while working and being blocked from forming unions.

Wines of South Africa condemned any abuses outright but said it was disappointed in what it calls a biased report which could damage the industry and jeopardise the jobs of the people it claims to be championing. Chief executive Su Birch challenged how the 260 workers interviewed for the study had been selected and why employers weren't given the opportunity to respond to the allegations. She called on the South African government to partner the wine industry in accelerating reform and in rooting out problems.