Farmers agree to wage talks

2013-01-11 07:58

Cape Town - Some Western Cape farmers have agreed to wage negotiations with unions, following a series of violent strikes. 

Cape Orchard group chairperson, Gerhard de Kock who represents 12 farms in the Hex River Valley at De Doorns said he had invited 28 farmers to a meeting. 

"I believe that the groups should come forward, as they've indicated to me that they are prepared to talk about a settlement deal." 

Local union leaders were also at the briefing. 

Unions, De Kock, and several other farmers, were expected to attend the meeting. 

On Thursday police used a water cannon, fired rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse thousands of strikers who pelted them with stones. The strike by seasonal workers to have their R69 daily wage increased to R150 resumed on Wednesday. 

The Bawsi Agricultural Workers' Union of SA's general secretary Nosey Pieterse said close to 6000 workers were on strike in De Doorns. Protests were also taking place in Grabouw and Wolseley. 

The N1 highway at De Doorns was still closed to traffic on Thursday. 

Agence France Presse reported that 18 people were arrested on Thursday, bringing the total to 62 this week.

Cosatu said the discussions were separate to those they've had with Agri-SA. 

  • rob.fleming.104 - 2013-01-11 08:07

    Why have none of the newspapers interviewed Minister Olifant about the minimum wage she set and what she is doing about it?

      mathata.fela.7 - 2013-01-11 08:18

      Because she said the farmworkers can go FTS...right approach if you ask me.

      conradiedaniel - 2013-01-11 08:26

      Exactly. I don't understand why the blame has to be placed on the farmers. They didn't establish the wages! Where is that damn minister?

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2013-01-11 08:38

      No other province farm workers has a problem. Only the non-cANCer WC province got a issue. Strange corrupted cANCer. Show you again. In this 18 years of power you could build NOTHING! Only Destroy!

      warren.slater.353 - 2013-01-11 08:59

      R69/day is disgusting.

      rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 09:23

      @Gollum... YES R69 per day is discusting... Shows you what Government and the ANC REALLY think about the people of South Africa.

      clive.kihn - 2013-01-11 09:29

      It's a repeat of the Marikana situation, Rob: the ministers (and the president) who should have been leading from the front went missing without a trace. The words "accountability" and "urgency" are conspicuous by their absence in the ANC vocabulary. That most useless of ministers, Tiny Tina, should have asked the pres to instruct her labour counterpart to put temporary wage levels in place until the scheduled April negotiations, but, as I said, urgency in the ANC's language probably means within the next year.

      warren.slater.353 - 2013-01-11 20:00

      @ Conradiedaniel This 100% the farmers fault. Although the gov may have set the R69\day minimum wage, that doesn't mean farmers are forced to pay just that. How can anyone expect people to feed themselves on such a pitiful wage. I used to employ an unskilled labourer and I used to pay him R90\day, and that was 16 years ago. R69\DAY is less than the minimum HOURLY rate in most countries. The fact that people actually work for that is a sad indication of their desperation.

  • zamani.ndlovu.5203 - 2013-01-11 08:09

    Iam glad some farmers eventually agreed and I hope the negotiators won't only negotiate for wages but also teach striking farm workers that destroying farms can never be a wise idea

      rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 08:26

      If Government have set the right minimum wage levels from the start there would be NO strikes now. Who's blaming them. If you think Government will set min. wage at R150 per day, you can put it in the Perm's blue book and forget about it. Cause it means that they will then also have to pay that min wage and there would not be enough money for Nkandla Lodge etc...

  • frank.cornelissen.1 - 2013-01-11 08:14

    Eish, an united front in the face of adversity was never a white strong point. There will always be one to sow discord to break away from the leader group. Agri SA was doing it's job well, but suddenly this breakaway group is going to stuff up everything!

  • glenda.gert - 2013-01-11 08:33

    Cosatu will never be in good talks with the... you know what.... Agri-Sa...they are just like Afri-Forum and Solidarity

      rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 08:41

      Does your comment have a serious tone of RACISM? What are you trying to say? That it is wrong to start a group who's purpose it is to look after the interest of a group of people? What makes COSATU the different? Oh wait I know that asnwer... Cosatu does it with violence. Do you think that Agri-SA only looks after the interest of white farmers??? They care about farming and farmers, and that include NON-WHITE farmers also.

      clive.kihn - 2013-01-11 09:08

      In other words Glenda, violence, vandalism, assault, arson and general anarchy are preferable to sitting around a table and negotiating? And Frank, if AgriSA was "doing its job well", why weren't serious negotiations initiated after the last round of strikes and with further unrest imminent? I trust the "breakaway" farmers and the workers will negotiate in good faith and without outside interference.

  • rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 08:35

    First of all Cosatu should not only be speaking to Farmers on wage negotiations, they should be speaking to Minister Oliphant and Government on what minimum wage should be. Why don't News 24 start interviewing HER and ask her what's her plan. And secondly they should negotiate with the "seasonal workers" that if they pay them R150 per day, that thereafter they return to where they came from and NOT settle in illegal shacks next to the highway. Thirdly Government should stop paying grants for up to 6 children cause THAT is the cause of poverty and the high unemployment rate in this country. We are over populated.

      tersia.louw.12 - 2013-01-11 08:42

      Hard to tell people to limit the number of children when their president sets a completely different example. Also difficult to tell them not to steal to feed their children, for the same reason.

  • marilyn.edge.3 - 2013-01-11 08:37

    So once again violence has paid off. As one farmer correctly stated - most farmers pay above the minimum wage anyway.

  • boet.magundana - 2013-01-11 08:55

    The boet says: All this could have been prevented if the farmers moved from their glorious perch and acknowledge that no one can live off R69 per day. In this day and age nogal where the cost of living has spiralled out of control to the point that the middle class are living off their credit cards. Common sense needs to prevail but importantly, before anyone rides their high horse, one needs to put themselves in those peoples shoes.

      rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 09:29

      You go tell that to Government who set that minimum wage and stop blaming farmers that are just moving within their legal right set by Government. Go thro stones at Mildred Oliphant. If you have to pay 30% Income Tax, will you go and pay more? NO, you will go and see what all the legal loopholes is to pay less tax, so that you can have more spending money in YOU're pocket. I say, the BOET is throwing stones from his own glass house... If you understand the term...

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2013-01-11 09:54

      rian, you can go on about the min wage matter. Do you understand what minimum means? It does not mean maximum. Farmers do not have to stick to the minimum. They can decide what is reasonable and what they can afford (truthfully) and set the wages at a reasonable rate. Easy! Then we would not have this trouble. The farmers invited the problem by using the minimum wage level.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2013-01-11 10:55

      Your interpretation of minimum is wholly distorted, to say the least. The workers are housed free of charge, receive basic food free of charge, electricity and water free of charge and transport to and from town, free of charge. Dispite these perks, they are still demanding R150.00 pd and I'll give it to them if they agree to start paying for everything else like the rest of humanity is deemed to do! These cretins are breaking and burning just because they can and this whole stupidity has very little to do with wages as cleaners make do with R105.00 p/d while paying for everything!

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2013-01-11 11:00

      Tuner, you obviously know squat about minimum wage and the way the unions enforces it. Any employer paying more than the minimum rate will soon be beset with some slimy union official telling you that you are setting a precedent and undermining their authority. They would urge you to pay allowances and performance bonuses to deserving individuals but touching the rate is not on! So farmers are not the people pegging the rate, unions are! Wake up, man!

      clive.kihn - 2013-01-11 12:21

      Totally agree that R69 is unacceptably low, so why did Mildred's mob set it that low? Shows how cut off from reality they (the ANC) are, with their million rand cars, quarter billion rand houses, etc. What if farmers gave them R150, but removed some of the freebies? No doubt more trouble would erupt. Oh to have a government that actually leads.

      rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 14:47

      @Tuner, you also seem like one of those uninformed people who has NO contact with the farming comunity. Maybe 20 years ago farming was still easy. Nowadays, a farmer is at the mercy of nature and the people who buys their produce. If Brazil or Argentina decide to dump a bunch of produce on South African shores, the farmers takes the shots. Farmers are in all forms the price takers and not givers. Just an example, last year dairy farmers got paid below R3 per liter of milk while in the shops you on the street where paying between R7-R9 per liter of milk. Maize prices have been at a high of R3000 per ton and prize of Soya sky rocketed. Four years ago the price of milk was maybe R3.50 per liter paid to the farmer. Can you get the idea of the maths here. Many Farmers are in the same situation as the rest of the public. Their profits are shrinking with inflation. Nobody will listen if they strike, cause where are they going to get money if they dont farm. Government also does not subsidize farmers, so what do they care. Firts get an idea of whats REALLY happening on farms, then you start throwing your stones. We should all rather go and strike in front of big chain stores, cause they are the ones causing us to have less money to afford expensive bread, milk etc... In any case, most farmers do pay their workers already above minimum wage. Let me ask you, How much do you pay your domestic worker per day or the guy working in your garden???

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2013-01-12 16:57

      Frank, I hope the likes of you and rian do not have a chance to be in a responsible position or employ people! You guys are even more confused and unaware of facts than the unions! I was talking about the definition of minimum, nothing else. I am perfectly aware of the perks you mentioned, but that is not my job! As I said, the farmer should decide what is reasonable and that will obviously include the hidden perks he gives (he is more aware of what they are more than you or me). Can you comprehend this? If all what they pay adds up to R150 a day, then there is no argument. You seemed to have missed one important factor. The main body of the strikers are the seasonal workers (stirred up by you might know who) who will not get a lot of the perks you mention. Most of the permanent workers who get these perks are the ones wanting to work, but because of intimidation, cannot. So whose interpretation is distorted now? rian, your last sentence just contradicted your whole argument. So I have nothing to say, except that I do not have a domestic worker or gardener since we handle those things ourselves (not so lazy) and when I did have, I always paid above minimum wage levels!! By the way Frank, the unions do not enforce minimum wages, the dept of Labour does! Again, get YOUR facts straight!

  • Ðavid - 2013-01-11 09:04

    Stop fetching bus loads of workers from the Eastern Cape to come and work here. Employ local or mechanise. As simple as that!

  • richardnealejohn.underwood - 2013-01-11 09:35

    Gerhard de Kock is running scared , what he and his 12 farms are doing is no concern of other farmers,let him be stupid if he must he is creating his own rotten future because if he capitulates now he'll be paying ransom every time there is a crop to be picked until the only thing growing there is bush and weeds. What will mechanization cost at least it wont turn around and bite you .The pickers can then pick there noses as the no doubt do for the rest of the year . The workers will drive anything into the ground.

  • MJS1234 - 2013-01-11 09:37

    Again I ask, why are they only striking in WC, when most farmers in the province pay on average, R20 a day more than minimum wage! It is so obviously political sabotage and sadly, the farm workers will be the ones who suffer the most when their jobs are lost!

  • richardnealejohn.underwood - 2013-01-11 10:37

    My workers live well off R70 rand a day, R1500 a month, why cant they ? Oh yes they only get R69 a day, shame give them the extra rand . Alternatively , hire them as contract workers ,pay them per basket picked. I know that they do that in other countries. Before these wages were laid down by government they had already worked out what could be done and those are their figures but what would a union know or care they are only there to to expoit the poor. What happened to the tea farms ? Theres an example : the weeds have taken over,,,,flogged to death by " wekkers " strikes : wan mo money . BOET you really dont have a clue do you. There really is not much to be got out of agriculture if we pay too low as you say ,you are comparing middle class who are educated and have a totally different lifestyle with those that are totally uneducated . You figure only on them throwing themselves onto farms where there is no money to go round and flog them to death with their expectations and riots As you say the middle class are battling , thats us , if there was more money we would hire more workers but we are still riding the tide by retrenching.

  • siasme - 2013-01-11 11:15

    To all the people shouting it is disgusting to pay the uneducated farm workers R69 per day. Firstly you are mistaking with the amount as if you take into account their free accommodation, free electricity, free food daily, free work clothes and shoes and the cost of the transport once a week to the local supermarket you will find that they earn a lot more than R69 per day. Perhaps all these perks should be taken away and the farmers should only pay them the R150 per day they request.

  • desmond.s.leaner - 2013-01-11 11:53

    This whole fiasco is a legacy of separate development (aka apartheid aka good neighborliness). It was easy to get cheap unskilled labour and house ppl in cheap housing (of course for "free") on your property and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Now in a free South Africa its not easy to transition. No matter what the outcomes are, the workers will suffer because they have no other skills. The farmers are to blame because they are perpetuating apartheid style farming and exploitation, and the unions are to blame for only waking up now.

      desmond.s.leaner - 2013-01-11 12:08

      Pay farmworkers this and put them off your property!

      desmond.s.leaner - 2013-01-11 12:13

      just posted this comment on Pay farmworkers this and put them off your property!

      rian.dejager.3 - 2013-01-11 14:30

      @DezLee, If you think it costs NOTHING to let a farm worker stay on your farm, then you are living in a dream world. They use electricity and water and lots of it. If they get sick, the farmer takes them to town to get treated, more money. Many more costs inbetween there that YOU have no clue about. I'm 100% sure you've never been on a farm and that you will scream like a girl if you would step into some cow Sh@t. ANy case, the workers staying on the farms are not the ones striking here, so your whole comment has no value.

  • pages:
  • 1