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Farmworkers’ union challenges Labour Court ruling

CSAAWU approached the Constitutional Court after Labour Court dismissed its case for better wages.

FILE: The union lost the case and now has to pay more than half a million Rand in costs. Picture: RSC Inc.

CAPE TOWN - A farmworkers' union has approached the Constitutional Court to overturn a Labour Court ruling against demands for a better minimum wage.

Last year the Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural and Allied Workers' Union (CSAAWU) took farmers to court demanding workers be paid more than the previous minimum wage of R69 a day.

The legal action followed a violent and unprotected farmworkers' strike between 2012 and 2013.

But the union lost the case and now has to pay more than half a million rand in costs.

The CSAAWU lost the Labour Court case and was ordered to pay costs amounting to R600,000.

Attorney for the Socio-economic rights institute, Bhavna Ramji, says the union cannot afford it.

"CSAAWU will either have to have all its goods attached or it will have to declare itself bankrupt."

The Labour Court dismissed the union's case on the grounds that farmworkers displayed "reckless attitudes" when they participated in the unprotected and violent strikes of 2012 and 2013.

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