16 November 2012

South Africa: Workers Return to Farms

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Police on standby (file photo): The strike which began among grape-pickers in the Hex River Valley turned and resulted in a confrontation with police.

Johannesburg — About 300 farmworkers who went on strike in Wolseley in the Western Cape returned to work on Friday, the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the province said.

Provincial general secretary Vusi Myeki said the workers agreed to suspend the strike for at least two weeks until a decision was made on the farmworkers' minimum wage.

Protests over wages in the Western Cape spread across the Boland, with table grape harvesters demanding to be paid R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day. The strike was continuing in other areas of the province.

On Friday protesters looted shops and torched businesses in the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape. On Friday morning, roads, including the N2, were blockaded with rocks and burning tyres.

"We have received reports of unrest and torching of businesses, but the situation is under control," Western Cape police spokesman Lt-Col Andre Traut said.

eNews Channel Africa reported that protesters looted a bottle store and that a butchery was torched in Swellendam on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Agri SA said the farmers should be allowed to decide what action to take against their illegally striking workers.

"Lawlessness and criminal activities cannot be tolerated and the culprits must be held accountable via normal prosecution processes," Agri SA labour committee chairman Anton Rabe said. He said affected parties should work together to restore business confidence and peace of mind so the country's image could be restored.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 South African Press Association. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.