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Farmworkers ‘not told about meeting’

Cape Town - Only three farmworkers attended a public hearing in Worcester on Thursday night intended to allow farmworkers to discuss their grievances following last week’s violent protests. The hearing was organised by the Department of Labour.

De Doorns’ ANC councillor Pat Januarie interrupted the Labour Department’s Titus Mtsweni within the first five minutes of the meeting.

Farmworkers protest in Wolseley. Photo: Henk Kruger. Credit: INLSA

“There are no farmworkers here,” he said. Three farmworkers raised their hands when a show of hands was called for.

Timothy Ncwana, provincial chairman for the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), slammed the department for not communicating properly with workers and not giving bodies representing farmworkers enough time to organise transport for their members.

“I found out two days ago,” he complained.

Meanwhile, negotiations between labour unions, AgriSA and the department started in Cape Town on Thursday to raise the minimum wage

Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, said the parties agreed that R70 a day was a low wage.

“The only agreement that was concluded was the parties’ commitment to stop all victimisation related to the strike,” Ehrenreich said.

“A committee was established to attend to instances where evictions or disciplinary action, or strike agitation, was reported.”

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