Farmworkers’ dismissals spite govt – Cosatu
The retrenchment of workers by farmers is an attempt to spite government, Cosatu said.
“The dismissal threats are nothing more than an effort to spite workers and the government … this is an act of hostility by the farmers,” Congress of SA Trade Unions Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said today.
At least 2 000 farmworkers had reportedly already been issued with notices of retrenchment, Business Day reported yesterday.
According to farmers’ union TAU SA, they could not afford the new minimum daily wage of R105, a 52% increase, which Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced on Monday.
Ehrenreich called on farmers to stop retrenchments and eviction of workers from farms.
“Farmers who have a problem of not being able to pay the new minimum wages should apply for an exemption, as the law prescribes. None of the farmers who are now threatening dismissals have applied for an exemption.”
Farm workers in the Western Cape’s De Doorns area went on strike last year, demanding the minimum daily wage be increased from R69 to R150, and that a cohesive land reform programme be implemented.
The strike was suspended on condition that agricultural trade organisation Agri SA committed to local-level agreements and undertook not to victimise workers.