Farm strike threatens production, jobs

2013-01-11 17:09

Cape Town - Protest action on farms during the heart of the picking season will severely hurt the sustainability of farms and could result in job losses, the farmers’ union federation Asuf said on Friday.

The Agri-sector Unity Forum said that ongoing labour unrest in the Western Cape's fruit producing regions will impact negatively on production, the ability to serve local and international markets and the viability of farms.

"The knock-on effects of higher food prices and retrenchment of workers will follow as enterprises are forced to either or close down," said Asuf in a statement.

The umbrella body, who represents all major agricultural unions, said the mechanisation or venture into less labour intensive industries would inevitably lead to greater unemployment.

The organisation also threw its weight behind wage reforms proposed by the government. However, it called on farmers to pay higher wages than the minimum wage where possible.

On Friday, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant called on farmers to step up to the negotiation table to end the violent strike.

"I am not convinced that there is a serious attempt by farmers to negotiate," said Oliphant in a statement.

"I would also like to call on the farmers to engage their workers on the best way forward. At the end of the day, the main thing is negotiation between employer and employee."

Some striking farmworkers welcomed talks between unions and farm bosses.

The individual farmers agreed to a meeting organised by Cape Orchards Company (COC) chairperson Gerhard de Kock.

"We are glad they [farmers] are willing to negotiate," 29-year old farmworker Johannes Links told Sapa as he stood on the side of the N1 highway in De Doorns on Friday.

On Thursday, police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse thousands of strikers who pelted them with stones on the N1 in De Doorns.

The strikers, mostly seasonal workers, are demanding a daily wage increase to R150 from R69.

The protests, which began on August 27 last year, was called off on December 4 and resumed on Wednesday.

  • gvangreunen - 2013-01-11 17:17

    mechanise your farms and do away with these uneducated, militant riff-raff!

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2013-01-11 17:24

      There is only two threats to this country. The corrupted cANCer. And the most corrupted useless tax thief Jacob "Compound" Zuma!

      altusvanzyl - 2013-01-11 18:45

      I'm going to retrench a couple of people because I just cannot afford it anymore. Ill farm myself.

      carl.debeer.33 - 2013-01-11 18:56

      Casinos are starting to use Technology to eradicate union problems, absenteeism and salary burdens.

  • marilyn.docherty.9 - 2013-01-11 17:26

    Who will these strikers call upon when they have no jobs because they messed up when they had one????

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2013-01-11 17:41

    if we lose our jobs then we'll grab the land

      avremel.niselow - 2013-01-11 17:47

      You left out the next step: starvation.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2013-01-11 17:51

      Who's "we"? Are you a seasonal worker earning R69 a day, commenting here on News24?

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 18:05

      Bayathanda ukusisabisa ngendlala. Bafana nenyoka eyatshela uAdamu ukuthi uma engadli isisthelo uzoba isiwula impilo yakhe yonke. Wathi uBiko abacindezeli basebenzisa izingqondo zethu ukuthi basicindezele. Usuke esho lento le, yabantu abasitshela ngalo mhlanzo we "starvation" masifuna inkululeko.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 18:20

      These ideas of grabbing things are all very well but you might want to take some time out from your busy schedule to figure out what responsibilities and liabilities go with having land. Or do you expect mere possession to force the earth to magically sprout forth all that you will need?

      patsy.smith.125 - 2013-01-11 18:40

      And what will you do with it. Muck it up like you have done to everything else? (A) Subsistence farming wil NOT feed a nation. (B)You need experts to run a vineyard, not idiots.

      ryno.v.rooyen - 2013-01-11 18:48

      First you will break down the houses because you need to get rid of the evil spirits that live in them. Then you will cut down the vinyards for fire wood, after that the infighting will start, and then after two or three years we will see you all on Carte Blanche, all pathetic, moaning that no body showed you how to work the land... Seen it all before in a once prosperous country called Zimbabwe...

      carl.debeer.33 - 2013-01-11 18:49

      It must hurt to be so thick and stupid

      Doorboot - 2013-01-11 19:22

      Obviously you are being paid more than R69 pm... I smell a Troll in the drinkwater. BTW grab the land, go for it then you can bugger it up and die of starvation.

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 09:35

      Yebo, just like Mugabe so happy to get rid of all white farmers and now buying mielie meel from the white farmers he through out, now farming in Zambia (at twice the price) who ends up bearing the brunt of all this sh*t the people.

  • errol.wagner - 2013-01-11 17:44

    I think the minister should investigate the balance sheets and profit and loss accounts of the farmers, in fact, look at their tax returns and then assess whether they can improve their workers' wages. Whether they are seasonal or not, they should be paid a livable wage. I would not be surprised if there were not some farmers who are paying decent wages and making a profit. I suggest that farmers read seriously James 5 verses 1 to 7 in the Bible.

      freddy.a.graf - 2013-01-12 07:58

      Yes, and while the minister is investigating the balance sheets and profit and loss accounts of the farmers perhaps she should do the same with the financials of the Unions, I still think this is the best business to be in!

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 09:38

      The government spends 90% of their budget on salaries that is why our infrastructure is falling to pieces.

  • mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 17:56

    Bayangixaka laba ondlebezikhanya ilanga. Bafike bathathe umhlaba wethu, basiphathise amapasi, basigqilaze, bakhe umcebo ngathi. Sabaxolela. Uma sesitghi silwela impilo engcono, basitshela ukuthi siyabheda. Ngamanye amazwi, kumele sizwe ngabo thina. phezu kwengcindezelo yabo..?

      Doorboot - 2013-01-11 19:26

      Is hierdie artikel in Zulu of Afrikaans geskryf sodat ons dose kan wees in ons eie taal?

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 22:20

      Dit in Engels geskryf is, maar in Suid Afrika kan ons enige van onse tale praat. As jy nie Zoeloe praat of ander tale wil leer nie, dis jou eie baba...

      Blixum - 2013-01-12 13:12

      @zosoothoo: En hoe voel dit om met jouself te speel? Hoekom antwoord jou bradders nie in jou taal nie of lewer kommentaar oor wat jy te sê het?

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 09:39


      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 09:40

      The policy at NEWS24 is we should all speak English why then are certain people not adhering to the rules and moreover why are these posts not deleted by NEWS24.

  • markus.ippy - 2013-01-11 18:02

    I can see 6 people in this picture that should be shot with real bullets in the head

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 18:12

      Kufanele phela, angisho obabamkhulu bakho bazi ukudubula ngesabhamu nje kuphela. Bakhombisa lokho ngabantwana besokole eSoweto.

      jimmy.tlou - 2013-01-12 17:50

      Marcus I hope one picture is yours in those six counted one, as if it is not included then i will declare you as a fool who does not think prior writing or making a decision, devision will destroy your life and you will leave this earth as it is, be very very careful of what you wish.

  • william.baloyi.98 - 2013-01-11 18:15

    the fact remains that Whites are a very lazy people hence even if they mechanise they will still need African labour

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 18:59

      Ucabanga ukuthi sizalwe izolo lo. Uyakhumbula lamanga abo e Apartheid, ababewakhuluma sengathi bakhuluma nezingane? Bebulala abantu e John Vorster, bese bethi bawile bafa? Amanga eziduphunga. u Toby usaqhubeka ngawe. Ingakho nje abanye babo befana no Visagie we "studio" izingqodo zisemdidini.

      TSR01 - 2013-01-11 19:01

      If one kind of labor is not sufficient, then another can be found. Animal labor, Chinese labor, child labor? :p Just kidding about child labor. But in all seriousness, everybody who is serious about earning money is willing to work hard at the end of the day - whether they do their best, or drag their feet is up to the individual.

      lorraine.stephens.3114 - 2013-01-11 19:05

      I offered my son the same wage I paid my gardener to take care of my garden. He does it in 2 hours on a Friday and 3 hours early on Saturday. I don't have to feed an extra mouth, my lawnmower has never broken, my irrigation system's pipes are all intact, my hose fittings are all still there. Cheers Robert, I hope you found another job!

      wwrer.ww - 2013-01-11 19:26

      If the whites are so lazy? Why do they do so well at school? No it's not the teacher. It is the STUDENT that is better. The student that sits and works hard and studies and that doesn't waste time kicking the soccer ball around all day long.

      Doorboot - 2013-01-11 19:29

      True we are lazy and useless, luckily we have our Blacks that are hard working and industrious to bail us out. Somehow that just does not sound right. As I know plenty hard working and lazy people from both races. Maybe you need to reconsider being an idiot and show some respect.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 19:39

      Clean my own house, do my own gardening, washing, ironing and asstd DIY. I also work, on average, 45hr week with minimal (circa 3%) increases over the last 5 years. So please define 'lazy' because the only laziness I'm seeing here is lazy thinking.

      Brian Dorning - 2013-01-11 21:10

      uthandelani uku jonga enva? wena, senduku bonile! ungumthwana! Racist! ncono uye enthabeni, uyo weluka mfana! ndayku kwenkwa stenke!

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 22:26

      Hhayi wena Brian angicwasi mina. Asikwazi ukuqhubekela phambili uma nina ningafuni ukushintsha. Sikhathele, Brian. Abazenzisi.

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2013-01-13 07:09

      Clearly you only speak of South Africa. In other countries whites do the work themselves. We don't really need your help, we are very capable, just remember that. If you weren't in the picture they would do it themselves, they did before so don't rate yourself so highly my friend :)

  • bob.small.7547 - 2013-01-11 18:15

    Simpletons, screwing up the economy just that little bit more! Why do we see children in this workers march??? Like hell they are workers! This is anarchy…simple!

      mart.botha - 2013-01-12 10:36

      Just like the ANC did in 1976 when they thrust and forced their children into the firing line, and the same mentality that Palestinian terrorists use hiding and firing from amongst their own women and children...these strikers are's as simple as that.

  • michael.konings.7 - 2013-01-11 18:17

    Slave labour was outlawed in the 19 th. century in most countries. R70.- a day!!

      nibiru.sekkiejorge - 2013-01-11 18:25

      If you don't want to work for "R70-a day" Don't

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 18:32

      My daily cup of coffee at Seattle coffee company costs R22.00 - This is disgusting.

      nibiru.sekkiejorge - 2013-01-11 18:42

      Don' drink it then

      patsy.smith.125 - 2013-01-11 18:46

      With the unemployment situation as bad as it is, it's better than nothing Mr. Konings. And nothing is what these blinkered people will land up getting if the ANC have their way

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 18:55

      Nibiru, I understand if the comment is too complucated for you, s'duphunga.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 19:48

      @mabheshankone.zosuthu - so pleased you raised that issue because the farm workers on coffee plantations earn circa US$2 a day. For that they have to pick 45kgs of coffee, have shocking housing, little or no sanitation, protective gear (especially against pesticides), no schooling for the children. The children are also working from as young as 8yrs old. So it's very nice that you're in a situation to afford to consume (and p away) R22 of coffee a day but you are contributing to their misery.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 19:55

      Most of the world’s 25 million coffee growers receive less than one-percent of what most consumers pay for their daily cappuccino and only about 6-percent of the price paid for coffee in the supermarket.

      mabheshankone.zosuthu - 2013-01-11 22:32

      Of course, Lacrimose, I drink "slave labour" coffee. I know that. My iPhone is a Chinese "slave labour" device. I know it too. Does this mean that farmers in Western Cape must continue paying slave wages? Of course not. It simply means that coffee farmers, Chinese factories and Western Cape farmers must change. Now you want to push me to boycott coffee. Well, that time has not come for me yet. In any case, this was always beside the point. I was simply showing everyone that what the western cape workers earn per day is good for three cups of coffee. Surely, you get that.

      lelanie.loftieeaton - 2013-01-12 07:20

      Do they get only R70? Or do they get other benefits as well? Does the R70/day apply only to seasonal workers, or permanent workers as well? Does anyone talk about the extras workers get?

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 09:48

      It is the FREE market system if you don't want to work for R69 a day find another job. But the ANC has taught it's people well. The try to legislate people into jobs instead of educating people into jobs.

  • boet.magundana - 2013-01-11 18:24

    Can we please get off our noble horses for a bit and consider the scenario affecting these workers. They work under inhumane conditions, sometimes have to pick fruit in pouring rain, sleep in rooms resembling a pigsty(for free of course, as some clever bugger would point out). They don't look forward to payday as that won't make much difference anyway, all this whilst we sit in airconditioned offices and throwing stones at those below us.

      Doorboot - 2013-01-11 19:32

      I agree but lets also be careful and not generalise that all of them get exploited and that all of the farmers are idiots as that is not the case. But still people need to earn a living wage but they also need to be productive for it. A fair trade of is required.

      Brian Dorning - 2013-01-11 20:51

      have you ever seen this happen first hand?

  • nicky.saaiman.1 - 2013-01-11 18:31

    Why does the rest of SA farmworkers not strike.

      TSR01 - 2013-01-11 19:03

      Politics from Cosatu and the ANC. They want to pretend that the WC is the only province that needs to change salaries. Just watch the knock-on effect in the other provinces after wage negotiations in the WC have settled. Everyone else in the country will wreak havoc, and Jacob Showerhead Zuma will threaten to send in the army to kill protestors. WHAT A WONDERFUL DIC(K)TATOR WE HAVE PRETENDING TO BE PRESIDENT!! :)

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 19:51

      Despite the protestations on SAfm this morning, this is the strategy; agri regions that are harvesting are the ones being hit - because no business person wants to see a year's work literally rot away. We can expect more throughout the year as the winter crops reach harvest

  • boet.magundana - 2013-01-11 18:34

    In any case SA economy was built on gross exploitation and cheap labour and this practice will never cease to exist. This is why you get thumbs down if you suggest anything towards the uplifting of black people's living standards. Most white people are proponents of this oppressive economy system as it is beneficial to them.

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2013-01-11 18:55

      And the rest of the world????

      mark.elkington.71 - 2013-01-11 19:23

      Just bear in mind that in most farming in European countries is subsidized by their governments. This is what South Africa is competing with.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 20:17

      Europe, US, UK subsidised. Other agri economies such as Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Costa Rica people are earning US$2-3 a day and live and work in the most appalling conditions. This is an universal problem, largely driven by markets. If you can't produce at a price acceptable to manuf/supermarkets, they'll take their business elsewhere. Welcome to the global market.

      Brian Dorning - 2013-01-11 20:48

      Lets pretend that your statement has some merit to it. You in short accuse whites no not want to uplift black? correct me if i'm wrong plz. Who was there to uplift the 'whites' to the point that they are? Did the Purple people uplift the whites? The problem in this whole saga is that certain people expect something for nothing. Why don't the 'black' people you speak of uplift themselves...the way the 'white' people have done, and will continue to do so? You are an idiot for generalizing and attempting to create racial divide. There are more wealthy black people than whites, (that uplifted themselves, not waiting for hand outs). Whites are only 8.9% of the population, how can you expect the minority to uplift the majority. SA is the only country in the world where AA is in favour of the majority. P.S. I'm a black person, SA proudly

  • altus.kirsten - 2013-01-11 18:38

    Blind leading the blind!

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2013-01-11 18:44

    Pre-election time. N.B. These riots are only in the Cape which the ANC want back under their thumb. Very sore losers quite happy for people to starve to death as long as they (the ANC) get the W. Cape back. Wicked people.

  • rocky.bell.98 - 2013-01-11 19:05

    Obviously most commentators know nothing about farming and economics. What has happened in the WC will be to the detrement of all, farmer and farmworker AND THE COUNTRY (SA has just been down graded once more by international financial experts) And remember the hooligan strikers are mostly season workers from neighbouring countries, who have in any case TAKE OVER LOCAL PEOPLE'S JOBS. Just amazing how this useless government who call themselves the anc can allow a whole industry (the second largest work provider in the country) be demolished by a few outsiders. Many, many issues will come back and bite the anc big time - mark my words.

      Klaus - 2013-01-12 20:16

      Hi rocky, whether we buy grapes, apples or any cape grown fruit on offer in our local supermarket, if it is to expensive, they will rot - reading all those inane comments i wonder how many of those african clowns have bought any of those fruits on offer

  • MJS1234 - 2013-01-11 19:10

    DUH, what rocket scientist came up with this!

  • PeterJJhb - 2013-01-11 19:15

    William. Where did u suck that comment from??? Amazing how u turn this into a race issue. It's a labour issue!!!!!! I personally think that what they are asking for is reasonable, but unemployed people and children joining in on this strike and the union denying it...... That is stupid. Unions are the biggest problem this country has had since apartheid.... Which as a white guy I was and always will be against.... Suprise.... A white guy who actually believes that apartheid was pure evil..... Next time think before u type stupid comments

      jimmy.tlou - 2013-01-12 18:16

      @PeterJJhb out of all the comments i have read i really value your senseful comment, this is about wages n not racial, who is stupid or clever n what farmers are asking for its pure reasonable. But children there as well totaly downfall.

  • Martin Meiring - 2013-01-11 19:20

    Do farmers recognise any of the faces in these mobs? They behave like professional rioters!

  • drienie.mayo - 2013-01-11 19:27

    I can't believe how stupid these people are....You are only destroying your livelihood..No production, no least you have work dimwits...

      jimmy.tlou - 2013-01-12 18:17

      Can you expand on you "these eople" wat do you mean?

  • theo.lagrange.7 - 2013-01-11 19:32

    Unions and the ANC is worried about 400 000 seasonal workers getting low wages, they should be worried about the 12 million unemployed people with no income zero?

      anita.adeline - 2013-01-11 23:34

      Hi yes the Goverment and Unions-should be concerned about the unemployed 'hence the amount of illegal persons that has been allowed to come into the north,west, east,south of this country, has put a burden upon SA born persons eg 1. Health care at Goverment hospitals 2. Safety of each individual 3.loss of jobs because the owners can pay less to a outsider born elsewhere! 4.loss of taxes due to non S A persons getting paid' but not paying in-tax wise permits not being issued and paid for- if one wants to work within SA BORDERS - 6.IF SA born one gets first oppertunity to the Job market unless you have gone legally through immagration and paid your dues to SA Goverment to be in SA . 7.seasonal workers from surrounding countries must pay for work permits if wanting to work in SA for a set amount per day! Sadly i could go on but sad to say- what has SA PERSONS fought for Freedom what a joke-the Goverment owes china so much money back so in exchange land reform was given - thus brought jobs yes, but at a cheap price for illegal persons to work in-eg china malls - bang went SA Market of inner manufactoring ! All the illegal imports - WELCOME TO SECOND ZIMBABWE *

  • rocky.bell.98 - 2013-01-11 19:38

    Season workers from Lesotho - as predicted in the past, the anc's foreign friends will eventually control SA. welcome to the only country in the world that is controlled and run from beyond its borders. Those who are in charge,: Lesotho, Swaziland, Zim, China and so many more. We are the prostitutes of the world - everyone screws us - big time.

      brian.bongani.77 - 2013-01-12 08:10

      guys plz plz we need jobs.

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 10:17

      I just sacked my farm workers, because they cost me more money in breakages and damages. And they only want the money not to work. I have another business and another income they are the ones losing vout not me.

  • jholiday.tiyani - 2013-01-11 19:40

    They making billions a year so just the people and avoid many things cause the the producting the the value of money will drop so low

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-11 20:02

      They actually don't. You have to look at agri earnings over a 7yr cycle, not one year, which is how the weather (and the pests) tend to cycle. Agri the world-over is being hammered by conglomerates - supermarkets & manufacturers. Most agri gets between 2-5% of the retail price that we pay. The rest of that bounty goes to businesses. It's a complicated and highly ruthless arena. Farmers margins are squeezed to death. ZA farmers don't get subsidised but are expected to compete against a world market that largely is. Many things have to change, including min wage, but it is not as simple abracadabra tomorrow the daily pay is R150. The knock-on effect will be catastrophic for the entire country and region.

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-13 10:21

      Typical Darkie mentality, workers only see the income and not the expenses. But it will help if the farmers buy sensible vehicles and not the R500 000 SUV's. The workers do not see it as a tax deduction they see it as FLOCK the umalungu is rich.

  • Brian Dorning - 2013-01-11 21:05

    uyasi khumbula 'imagazeni' na? ndi se nasa esam, siya sebenza ngempela!

  • arthur.watts.14 - 2013-01-12 06:35

    What ever happened to peaceful negotiations? It is now only threats of violence from the workers -and supported by the unions!

  • veritas.odium.paret - 2013-01-12 07:35

    All they want is money and one day they'll get it. Lots of it! When the economy slumps and inflation reaches Zim$ level. Only then will they realise that they should have been more productive instead of always demanding...

  • mart.botha - 2013-01-12 10:28

    The ideal situation is that farmers mechanise because they cannot recruit labourers due to there being a shortage of them....and not because there is a surfeit of militant labour that are more trouble than they're worth. Bottom line ....the fact that we have too many people in South Africa is driving the earning potential of each individual down. The solution does not lie in financially crippling commerce and industry but perhaps it does lie in creating labour intensive 'kibbutz' type settlements where a person invests his/her labour for a better quality of life. These environments could be strictly controlled in terms of numbers, behaviour / discipline, and access to anti-social influences. I don't see any other way than for 'below breadline cases'to forgo some freedoms until we can get this over population down to manageable levels.

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