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WC farm strikes suspended

Western Cape farm workers have agreed to suspend their protest for two weeks.

Acting Labour Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape farm workers have agreed to suspend their protest over wages and living conditions for two weeks.

Acting Labour Minister Angie Motshekga said the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has consulted with workers and they have agreed to return to work on Thursday.

However, the suspension is on condition that the sectorial determination for agriculture is looked at by the Employment Condition Commission next Wednesday.

At the same time, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant is set to publish a notice to cancel the existing sectorial determination of minimum wages for the sector.

She said the notice will be submitted soon.

"I think the minister will first publish a notice indicating the intention to call on all interested parties to comment on the possibility of the review of sectorial determination."

Joemat-Pettersson said the protests and violence seen across parts of the Cape this week are related to service delivery issues and not just labour disputes.

"These are not just farmworkers, other communities are complaining about housing."

A number of areas were affected by violent strike action and several farms were torched by angry demonstrators.

On Wednesday, a 28-year-old man was killed in a police operation in Wolseley.

Workers are demanding a pay increase of R150 for a day's work, while most are earning between R70 and R90.