Olifant pleads with farmworkers

Labour Minister Mildred Olifant has called on farmworkers to allow wage negotiations to continue.

Labour Minister Mildred Olifant has called to farmworkers to allow wage negotiations to continue.

CAPE TOWN - Labour Minister Mildred Olifant on Tuesday said she could not guarantee that farmworkers would not down tools again in the Western Cape.

She made the comments while giving a briefing on developments on the ongoing negotiations at improving wages of farm labourers.

Olifant repeatedly appealed to farmworkers to allow negotiations to continue.

But she conceded she could not guarantee that a flare-up would not occur early in December.

She said the wage settlement deadline of December 4, set by workers, was practically impossible to achieve.

Olifant added that under law, she could only review the sectorial determination of wages once it has been in place for at least a year.

This means she can only re-evaluate the current determination next March when it can be changed.

At least two people were killed when farmworkers embarked on a strike a few weeks ago.

The strike action started in De Doorns before spreading to 16 other farming towns.

The workers were demanding a R150 daily wage.

The strike became violent when workers started torching vineyards and looting shops.