In an opinion piece published in Allafrica.com website, the South African Civil Society Information Service's (SACSIS's) Anna Majavu says that because of the monopoly of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), "whose leaders and officials have long preferred compromise and co-determination over worker control, it has been difficult for mineworkers to strike - until the Marikana massacre."
She adds that "it has possibly been even harder for farm workers to strike," as striking farm workers often face losing their homes on farms.
When the farm workers strike began in De Doorns last week, it took the ANC, DA and Cosatu by surprise. "Human Rights Watch estimated recently that less than 3% of South African farm workers are organised," Majavu says. Most farm workers earn the minimum wage or well below, with many in the Western Cape "still paid partly in alcohol even though white farmers claim that the 'dop system' was done away with years ago."
Even though COSATU and acting Labour Minister Angie Motshekga said on Thursday that the strike is suspended for two weeks, "COSATU and the ANC have no influence over this strike, which the farm workers have vowed to continue," Majavu says.
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For more info, go to www.sacsis.org.za