Today's Labour News

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strike thumb medium85 85GroundUp reports that thousands of farm workers in the Sundays River Valley area in the Eastern Cape have been striking since last Thursday demanding higher wages.  

Workers on the citrus farms of Addo and Kirkwood want a minimum wage of R20 an hour.  But employers claim they have already agreed to that, and that workers have been forced to protest against their will by the SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO).  Vuyisile Sikani, chairperson of the Sundays River Workers Forum and SANCO, said workers were being exploited by their employers and claimed that most workers in the citrus farms and factories were earning R16 an hour.  He also claimed that workers were not provided with protective clothing.  But Hannes De Waal of the Sundays River Citrus Company, a group of farmers, disputed these claims.  “It is not that farmers don’t want to pay the gazetted minimum wage.  We in fact agreed last week with our workers and increased their wages, from 16 an hour to R18 this year, then to R20 next year.  The workers were satisfied because at present no worker is earning less than R18 per hour.  We sense that this is not coming from them but SANCO,” he stated.  De Waal could not quantify the cost of the losses as a result of the strike, but estimates that it ran into millions.  Meanwhile, seven people were arrested early on Friday in Kirkwood for public violence.

  • Read this report by Joseph Chirume in full at GroundUp


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