Nick PlummerIndustrial Relations
Nick Plummer of Fine Music Radio interviews Denver Williams to discuss the role of WIDA in the handling Industrial Relations in the wine industry.


NICK PLUMMER: In the third of our series of interviews with Denver Williams of the Wine Industry Development Association, Denver is going to cover the role of WIDA in handling Industrial Relations in the wine industry. Good afternoon, Denver – tell us a bit more about this.

DENVER WILLIAMS: Good afternoon, this is really the exciting part, Industrial relations – when we fight, we fight about industrial relations. And what does this really mean to us as players within the wine industry, or any industry. What is industrial relations do really? It’s there to build bridges and not many people have that, when they speak about industrial relations, they usually think it’s a “they” and “us” situation. It’s not really that.
At WIDA, what we want to do, or what we have done, or in the process of having firm establishment, is to have a little committee that will monitor what is happening on the farms, as well and using legislation as a mechanism to see that our members being established farmers and new entrants, that they are ad hearing to the minimum standards for people, because we as we have said yesterday with our human capital development. We want people to be proud of the wine industry and when we fight, we fight about industrial relations issues, such as housing, such as better wages, conditions of living, and all the rest of it. And for us creating this mechanism to monitor this, we can then go out and say yes this is so, or no this not so, because a lot of the problems in the wine industry is created by perception. Our farmers are being told you are evicting people and that you are victimizing people and you doing this to people and you are not a nice bunch of guys. And we want, tonight, or this afternoon, we want to make it and state it categorically that if people don’t behave themselves and that is our established farmers, we will name and shame them and we will go out to our members and tell them what is happening. We are very proud of the wine industry, we are very proud of our track record, and we are saying to all those out there that we are still being, things such as negative issues, things such as the dop system is still being tarted around. We firmly believe this does not exist, and via this mechanism, if you do have a problem you can phone us and we will come out there with force and we will corroborate what you are saying and if it is found to be true, we will name and shame any farmer or wine producer that is bringing our industry which we are very proud of into disrepute.
So this mechanism as I said would look at all the laws as well as the social norms, and it consists of all the major role players within the industry, labor, it consists of established wineries, brands, liquor brands, the wine sellers and also emerging farming. So we have all the role players around the table, we are serious about eradicating unnecessary negativity around our industry and focusing on the more positive side of matters and building a happy home and a home where, it doesn’t mean we are not going to fight, but home that everybody can be proud of. Just as when we go overseas, and we say this wine comes from South Africa, that we know back home there is no social issues or industrial relations issues that is clouding our wines.

NICK PLUMMER: I suppose with your influence stretching quite broadly across the industry, you have quite a heavy influence in being able to empower and enforce these laws.

DENVER WILLIAMS: For sure, we have the South African Liquor Brand Owners Association, we have the Wine Sellers of South Africa, we have the Black Wines and Spirits Industries, the National African Farmers Union on board. All of these players have major influence, and we will use our affiliates and we will use their structures as well, to make sure that nobody misbehaves within our industry. For far to long, we have been labeled, maybe a bit of jealousy from other guys, or from other industries, because when you go home on a Friday, you have a happy drink and we make you happy. So maybe there is a reason for somebody to want to complain about our industry. And we want to say that we want to clean up our home, we don’t say that we are perfect, but when there are problems we have mechanisms in place to have a look at those things.

NICK PLUMMER: So in fact you are using the fair trade model of the coffee industry and you’re applying it to the wine industry.

DENVER WILLIAMS: For sure, we are doing that and we are very proud that we have gone that way.

NICK PLUMMER: Well we wish you the best of luck with that. That was Denver Williams from the Wine Industry Development Association. He’ll be back tomorrow, same time, when he’ll be speaking about Social Development Issues.