Farmworkers urged to strike peacefully

Government has called on farmworkers to refrain from violence during their unprotected strike.

De Doorns farm workers went on a rampage over salaries on 6 November 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Government on Monday appealed to Western Cape farmworkers not to resort to violence during their planned strike this week.

Thousands of labourers are expected to down tools from Wednesday in an unprotected, indefinite strike action.

They are demanding, among other things, a R150 daily wage.

Currently, they are earning R69.

The strike follows failed negotiations between the unions and farmers.

A violent strike first broke out in November in De Doorns before spreading to other farming towns.

Two people died while vineyards were torched by the protesters.

Petrus Brink of the Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign accused farmers of ignoring calls for negotiations.

"Farmers are refusing to negotiate with the workers."

Meanwhile, Western Cape Agriculture Department said it was working with various stakeholders to mitigate the impact of the strike.

The department said it was taking precautionary measures.

Police will be mobilised to try and prevent the chaos seen during the previous strike.

Unions maintain workers will not return to work until all their demands are met.