15 February 2013

South Africa: Cosatu NW Warning About the Farmers' Attitude

The Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates want give a strong warning to those farmers preparing to retrench farm workers due to the increase stipulated by the Minister of Labour during the amendment of the sectoral determination of farm workers.

We are warning those farmers that they must do their plans properly and that no farm worker must be retrenched or be laid off due to the increase. The farmers in the NW are aware that most of them have not been complying with the same act since it was put in place, so threats to reduce workers due to that increase will just make this province to be on fire, as we will not keep quiet as the federation.

The conditions and wages of all farm workers have not improved since the introduction of the new LRA, BCEA and the Sectoral Determinations Act. Very few workers are taken to training. If they are there as per the Skills Development Act, the conditions of farm workers are so bad in particular in the NW. The worst thing is a racial treatment that has been linked to the conditions of work and illegal evictions created by the unfair dismissals.

COSATU and its affiliates will not rest or keep quiet on this matter. We will make sure that government employs well-trained inspectors to monitor the full implementation of the amended sectoral determination on the increase for farm workers and the improvement of their accommodation. Most farm workers are still paid R60-R70 per day and still be expected to pay for electricity, water and accommodation, which is very bad.

We are therefore calling the Minister of Labour, with her own officials, to make sure that they co ordinate a meeting with all stakeholders in the NW for proper implementation of the government's policies and that farmers must respect the government's acts.

We are not threatening anybody but if farmers are calling to retrench workers, we are ready to make them to feel the pain.

We are aware that some farmers do not care, do not respect the laws of this country, and still act as if we are in the old apartheid regime where they used to do things that disrespected the human dignity of our poor farm workers, treat them as pigs or dogs and call them baboons.

We have been very quiet on some of these issues but now retrenching workers due to the increase as per the law is just something that we will not stand for.

We are ready; we are calling our farm workers to rally in the next three weeks and take a full mandate from our members and those who workers being denied the right to join the union of their choice.

We are not apologetic to anyone; we will take serious mass action against those who will be retrenching farm workers and make sure that their products are boycotted both in the country and outside.

For more information feel free to call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary Solly Phetoe [0823044055]

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