Farmers ‘willing to discuss wages’

An end could be in sight for the farmworkers’ strike in the Western Cape after organised labour announced yesterday that farmers were now prepared to negotiate a new minimum wage.

Cosatu said farmers in De Doorns had decided to enter into an agreement on wages for workers in that area.

Details of the agreement were still unknown at the time of going to press.

Cosatu also said that Agri SA had changed its position of “no negotiations in different areas” and would seek ways of reaching an agreement with workers.

Although unrest had spread to five farming towns in the province, Agri SA said it had not affected production. The farmers’ organisation said it was unclear whether the protesters were indeed farmworkers.

Wine and spirits producer Distell had not experienced any disruptions to its supplies or farming operations, finance director Merwe Botha said.

The harvest season for table grapes in the Western Cape got under way this month. South Africa is the continent’s biggest exporter of the fruit. – Londiwe Buthelezi and Bloomberg