Johannesburg - Cosatu in the Western Cape called on
farmworkers across South Africa on Sunday to join a wide-scale agricultural
Workers were calling for "one day of action across the
whole agriculture sector across South Africa" on Tuesday, said Congress of
SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich.
He said in a statement that, despite their best efforts, the
unions would not be able to avert a renewed strike by farmworkers in the
Western Cape on Tuesday.
Two people have been killed and buildings and vineyards have
been set alight so far in the protests, which started last month in 16 towns,
including De Doorns, Wolseley and Ceres.
Farmworkers suspended the action until Tuesday on condition
the employment condition commission relook at the sectoral determination for
However, Labour Minister Oliphant said this week that the
sectoral determination, which came into effect in March, could by law be
reviewed only in 12 months.
"The farmers, who were previously committed to find an
agreement through good faith negotiations, changed their attitude to
negotiations," said Ehrenreich.
They said they were not prepared to offer workers an
"The right-wing elements in the farmers' group have now
taken control and are hiding behind the minister's sectoral determination
He said a coalition of farmworkers and unions announced on
Thursday that the strike in demand of a wage of R150 a day and better living
conditions would resume on Tuesday. Most of them earn between R69 and R75 a
Ehrenreich said the farmworkers had been let down by the
"In spite of...(workers) bending over backwards to find
solutions, no one is prepared to listen or work towards solutions with
He said farmers did not deny that they could afford to pay
"They are really saying that if they treat the workers
humanely in this sector, then workers would be demanding to be treated humanely
in all sectors, and they can't have this," he said.
"They would rather spend their money on security
guards.... They would rather assemble their private right wing armies on the
He said there were "good" farmers, who did not
agree with the "right-wingers" and were talking to unions to find a