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Fawu threatens new Western Cape strike

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has threatened to resume agricultural strikes in the Western Cape and accuses farmers of using labour brokers to find temporary workers to replace its permanently employed members.
Fawu threatens new Western Cape strike

A statement issued on Tuesday (7 May) by Fawu general secretary Katsihi Masemola accused farmers in the De Doorns area of waiting until the end of the harvesting season to embark on a "cleansing process" of workers who had been vocal during the past strikes.

De Doorns was the epicenter of the agricultural strike that wracked the province in November and December and then again in January and February.

Workers demanded a rise in their basic daily wage to R150 from R69 along with improvements in working and living conditions.

The strike led to about R100m in damages to the mainly export orientated table grape farms that were at the height of their harvesting season.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant made a sectoral determination in February raising the minimum daily wage to R105.

However‚ farmers‚ at the time‚ warned this increase would cause job losses.

Masemola said the job losses had fueled frustrations among his membership and that should they continue‚ then his union would apply for a protected strike.

"We hope that farm bosses will assist us in avoiding the need for such actions by coming to the negotiation table and by using permanent workers for off-season work as well as ceasing to use labour-broker-supplied workers‚" he said.

Fawu has an estimated 2‚500 members in the De Doorns area out of about 8‚000 permanent workers there.


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