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Clanwilliam farmworkers agree to wage deal

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Cape Town - Farmworkers in Clanwilliam have reached an agreement that might signal the end of the farmworkers' strike in the Western Cape, the Congress of South African Trade Unions said on Tuesday.

“We have... the emergence of a good agreement with the farmers in Clanwilliam which we believe represents a model that will take us close to resolving the dispute sooner rather than later,” Cosatu’s provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich told reporters.

He believed the agreement was a substantial step forward in the negotiations.

The Clanwilliam farmers had made an offer of R105 a day, which “many of the workers had accepted”.

The farmers had also undertaken not to victimise workers and discipline them for participating in the strike, Ehrenreich said.

“The workers have gone back on that basis. We believe that this model can be applied in all the other towns across the Western Cape and the rest of the country where workers may have come out on strike, and that this model will serve as a settlement.”

Should AgriSA back the model, and not victimise or dismiss workers for participating in the strike, there was a “real possibility that the strike will be suspended on Wednesday if AgriSA responds by 1pm to the CCMA”, he said.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration has been facilitating the discussions between farmers and farmworkers.

The Clanwilliam agreement had the support of the labour department and the Food and Allied Workers' Union.

Western Cape farmworkers went on strike last year to demand their daily wage be increased from R69 to R150, and that a coherent land reform programme be implemented.

The strike was suspended in December, but resumed on Wednesday last week.

At least 167 people had been arrested since then. On Monday alone 42 people were arrested, mainly for public violence. - Sapa


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