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Farm strikes suspended until 9 January

BDLive reports that Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich confirmed in a statement early on Wednesday, 5 December 2012, that workers accepted a proposal put forward by Agri SA, the largest employers' organisation.
According to the agreement, wage negotiations will be held by unions farm by farm, in order to seek a resolution. If these talks fail, the strike would resume on January 9, at the height of the harvest period, when workers "would be strongest" and farmers hurt most.

Earlier, Fresh Fruit Portal said that speculation circulated yesterday (Tuesday) that farm worker unrest could spread from the Western Cape into other regions of South Africa. Labour union Cosatu has come out in favour of more widespread action and threatened to shut down South Africa's international fruit trade.

Workers in the region have asked for a wage increase from the current minimum of R70 a day. An increase has been supported by both unions and farmer representatives, but politics and specifics have confused negotiations. After government announced that the original Tuesday deadline set to resolve the Hex River Valley vineyard strikes could not be met, Cosatu organiser Mike Louw told Fresh Fruit Portal that a national strike "may even be in its embryonic stage now."

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