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Chamber: Strike will make things worse

Dec 03 2012 13:06 AFP
Farm protest police

Police are on high alert ahead of the farmworkers' wage strike in the Western Cape. (Johan Cloete, News24 user)

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Cape Town - Any strike now will not solve the grievances of farmworkers, but will in effect worsen it, the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHi) said in a statement on Monday.

The commerce chamber has voiced concern over the planned stayaway on Tuesday, saying it will put pressure on the already ailing sector and lead to large scale job losses.

Farmworkers in the Western Cape will on Tuesday embark on a one day strike to push for higher wages, after talks with farmers broke down, union federation Cosatu said on Monday.

The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions accused "right wing elements" within the farming lobby of refusing to consider the plight of the workers.

"The strike is going ahead. The farmworkers have been let down not only by their employers, but government as well," said Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu secretary for the Western Cape.

Last month, unprecedented unrest swept across the wine-producing region, as thousands of workers took to the streets demanding their minimum daily wages be increased from R70 to R150.

The strike turned violent, with one person killed during clashes with police. Several farms were set alight.

Calm returned last week when some workers returned to work as talks between government, unions and farmers took place.

"The farmers have intimidated us with dismissal, but we have gone too far to turn around now," Merchia Adams of Mawubuye Land Rights, told the Cape Argus newspaper.

The civil organisation held a meeting with farmworkers on Sunday. Cosatu has threatened countrywide protests if the workers' demands are not met.

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cosatu  |  ahi  |  farmworker protests  |  farms
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