Cape Town - Raising the minimum wage of farmworkers in the Western Cape will reduce employment, Solidarity said on Tuesday.

“Raising the minimum wage will not ease the problem and would rather tend to further diminish employment.

“Farmers will already have to put aside additional funds for increased security and insurance costs,” said Piet le Roux, senior researcher at Solidarity Research Institute (SRI).

Farmworkers and employers shared common interests - safeguarding of the infrastructure and production processes from which both parties earned their daily bread, he said.

On Tuesday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions announced that the strike by farmworkers in the Western Cape had been called off.

“On the advice of workers, we are calling off the strike actions in all areas, so that workers can evaluate the victories that they have gained, and plan more carefully for the way forward,” Western Cape secretary general Tony Ehrenreich said.

He said Cosatu would be co-ordinating “the mother of all strikes against bad farmers” later in the year, should no agreement be reached on a better daily wage, decent farm conditions and a comprehensive land reform plan.

Farmworkers went on strike last year, demanding that the minimum daily wage to be increased from R69 to R150.

The strike was suspended in December, but resumed a few weeks ago in various towns in the province.

Cosatu suspended the strike a week ago on condition that farmers' organisation Agri SA agreed not to victimise workers and committed to “local-level” agreements.

At the time, the union federation said the strike would resume this week should these conditions not be met. - Sapa