Strike halts produce delivery

Urgent solutions needed

Urgent solution required to end farm workers' strikes
Striking farm workers

The farm workers' strike, which has disrupted traffic flow along the N1 and farm produce deliveries, is set to continue today with Western Cape MEC for Agriculture Gerhard van Rensburg calling for an urgent solution to prevent job losses.

"Some workers will lose their jobs if we carry on like this, and I'm also worried about our export situation. Our buyers are worried as well because they want fruit in shops – and if we don't supply them, then somebody else, another country, will supply them and more workers will lose their jobs," he told SABC News.

During a television interview, Building and Allied Workers Union of South Africa general-secretary Nosey Pieterse said no negotiations were taking place because AgriSA and Agri Western Cape had abandoned the talks. He said they were not interested in collective bargaining, but supported sectoral determination. 

He added that the only way for them to force the farm workers to negotiate with them is through the strike action.

The strike turned violent yesterday when protesters pelted vehicles with stones and the police retaliated by firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them. About 44 protesters were arrested.

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich partly blamed the ANC government for the industrial action, saying they (the government) made R69 per day the minimum wage.

He added that part of the problem was the many rich black farmers who paid low wages.

Ehrenreich said the fact that it was harvesting season gave workers bargaining power.

With extra reportage by SABC News/SABC2's Morning Live

 

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