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Cosatu: Strike settlement up to AgriSA

Jan 15 2013 22:16
Cape Town - The Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Tuesday that the ongoing farmworker's strike could be suspended as soon as Wednesday afternoon if an agreement can be reached with AgriSA, following a deal between farmers and workers in Clanwilliam.

Clanwilliam farmers had made an offer of R105 a day, which "many of the workers had accepted", and employers had also undertaken not to victimise workers and discipline them for participating in the strike, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich told reporters.

"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," Ehrenreich said.

"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 13:00 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.

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