ANC statement of fruit farmer wage dispute
The ANC notes with concern the continued labour dispute on a South African Fruit Exporters (SAFE) managed farm, Keurboschkloof in De Doorns and wish to express its dissapointment with the farm management and owners.
Workers went on strike to demand that their wages remain unchanged and they all be provided with contracts reflecting their employment status. This was after the South African Fruit Exporters (SAFE) decided to reduce the wages from an amount of up to R127 a day, down to as little as R64 a day - almost halving their income. Workers rejected what they believe was unlawfull paycuts, since many of them worked for as long as 20 years on the farm.
About 300 Workers went on strike on 27 August 2012 and management conceded that there was a need to negotiate. An agreement was signed which aimed to secure the workers’ employment for a flat rate equating to R2 100 per month until Friday 12 September, while negotiations were continuing so as not to interrupt the farming activities.
Unfortunately negotiations were not successful and instead of reverting back to original wage categories, the management allegedly informed workers that only 20 of them were to be retained on permanent contracts. Workers rejected this with contempt and went on strike again on Monday 17 September 2012. Attempts by management to bus in scab labour were met with fierce opposition from the striking workers and the local community.
We believe it is reckless and dangerous for this company to play a destructive and divisive role which could lead to tensions extending to communities and other farms. Such actions are cowardly and clearly attempt to undermine negotiations with workers who have legitimate concerns and demands.
Following the recent developments and of COSATU’s congress discussions of a national minimum wage they are now demanding a flat wage of R2 887 a month before deductions.
“Recognising the long history of farming in the Western Cape, that the grape export industry requires particular skills and that the profits are based on export sales of luxury fruits we see the demands as reasonable and fully support the workers’ demands for a living wage. We call on the Labour Department to investigate the lawfulness of their unfair employment.
“We support union efforts to unionise farmworkers who are particularly marginalised.
“The ANC Western Cape calls for calm amongst all stakeholders, including farm workers, police and management.
“We are encouraged by the workers requests for support by the ANC. We will continue to support their demands, monitor the situation and bring stakeholders together in search of a permanent solution,” says ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman.
Statement issued by ANC Western Cape leader, Marius Fransman, September 19 2012
- 0 notes
University of Cape Town