Farmworkers end strike

The strike by farmworkers in the Western Cape has ended, Cosatu said on Tuesday evening.

“An agreement put forward by Agri SA contains the basis of the accord that ends this strike,” Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said in a statement.

Hundreds of protesting farmworkers block the N1 highway at De Doorns. File photo: Henk Kruger. Credit: Independent Newspapers

He said Agri SA, which represented farmers, “essentially commits” itself to negotiations to be held farm-by-farm. Talks would be about the wage demand of a R150 per day, and a profit-sharing scheme.

“This agreement means that workers will return to work and join any union of their choice,” said Ehrenreich.

“These unions will negotiate with the farmers on the different farms.”

If no agreement was reached by January 9, workers on those farms would strike again.

“This agreement represents a huge victory for farmworkers,” he said.

Table grape harvesters started protesting in De Doorns at the start of November for R150 per day and improved living conditions. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day. The protests soon spread to 15 other towns, leading to violence and two deaths.

Representatives from Agri SA, the agriculture department and unions were expected to brief the media on Wednesday. - Sapa