Johannesburg - A new wage settlement for striking Western
Cape farm workers must be agreed on immediately and not be subject to a new
sectoral minimum wage increase, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said
"There is an urgent need to reach an agreement on a new
minimum wage to address workers' demand for R150 a day before December 4,"
Vavi told reporters in Johannesburg.
Workers have agreed to suspend their strike until December
4, on condition that the employment condition commission (ECC) look at the
sectoral determination, including the minimum wage, for agriculture.
Vavi said that while the ECC was urgently considering an
increase to the minimum wage for farm workers, an increase was still unlikely
to be made official until early next year.
"This should not, however, prevent employers in the
meantime from agreeing to a wage increase, since the sectoral determination
sets minimum wages. There is nothing to stop employers paying more, as some
already do," he said.
Vavi said farm employers were being
"un-co-operative" and some were using private security companies.
"There is a danger of the situation getting out of
Sixteen Western Cape towns have been hit by violent protests
this month over farming wages and working conditions. Two people have died and
there has been extensive damage to property.
The protests started with table grape harvesters in De
Doorns, who were calling for wages of R150 a day. Most earn between R69 and R75