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Farm strike suspended

Jan 23 2013 09:46
Reuters
Cape Town - A deadly farm strike in the grape-growing Western Cape has been suspended after three weeks of labour unrest, farm industry groups said on Wednesday.

The groups said workers had for now given up on their demands for higher wages and told industry representatives they would call off the strike that saw protesters shut highways and damage farms in the area around Cape Town.

"We have called off the strike," said union leader Nosey Pieterse, general secretary of the Bawsi Agricultural Workers Union of South Africa.

Industry groups Agri Western Cape and AgriSA said farmers had received notice the labour action had been suspended.

Farmworkers staged destructive protests to demand a doubling of their daily minimum wage to R150 ($16.94) from the R69 basic rate set by the government in the labour-intensive sector.

One bystander was killed in the protests where police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to break up violent street rallies.  

There has been little let-up in a wave of labour unrest that began six months ago in the country's platinum mines and then swept through the trucking and agriculture sectors. 

South Africa, struggling with slow economic growth, is also bracing for job losses and more unrest in its crucial mining sector, responsible for about 6% of the economy.  

($1 = R8.8548)

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farmworker protests  |  economy

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