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Farmworkers: Cosatu negotiated on their behalf 'behind closed doors'

7 Dec 2012 08:22
According to Independent Online, Cosatu's announcement that the province's agricultural sector strike was called off has met with mixed reaction from farmworkers - many were split on whether they supported the decision. Criticism of Cosatu's lack of direct consultation with workers was key to some workers decision to oppose the union's announcement.
"This is an issue between farmworkers and their employers. Agri SA should have come to our meetings and listened directly to the people," Robertson farmworker Brendan Daniels said, "Why did Cosatu negotiate on our behalves behind closed doors in Cape Town? Why did the government get involved?" De Doorns worker Monwabisi Kondile said Cosatu had played "football with the people - telling them one thing, and then changing their minds at the last second".

Kondile said: "It will not be easy for us to organise and to negotiate with the farmers directly [as suggested by Cosatu]. This divides our people, and the farmers will be able to intimidate us." Another farmworker and activist, who declined to be named, told Independent Online Cosatu had sold out the workers, "Cosatu are (now) exposed for being on the side of farmers and the government who (wanted) to end the strike from the beginning."

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