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Minister tries to stop farmworkers' strike

Minister Mildred Oliphant will meet with AgriSA in a bid to prevent the farmworkers' strike.

Protesting farm workers march through the De Doorns town centre on 6 November 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant was expected to meet with AgriSA bosses on Tuesday in a last ditch attempt to avert a farmworkers' strike in the Western Cape.

The ministry's Director-General Nkosinathi Nhleko met with various farming unions on Monday.

Thousands of labourers are expected to go on an indefinite strike from Wednesday.

They are demanding that their daily wages be doubled to R150 from their current salaries of about R69 - R75.

Workers are also demanding better living and working conditions.

The Building and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Bawusa) says it can't guarantee the industrial action will be peaceful.

The union's Nosey Pieterse said it is highly unlikely they will call off the strike at this stage.

"The strike is a given, I don't think anything can avert it. It can however be stopped and suspended midway."

During a strike late last year, two people died and hectares of farmland were torched.

The strike, which started in the table-grape growing town of De Doorns in November, quickly spread to 16 other farming areas in the province.

Farmworkers then suspended their strike to allow farm level negotiations to take place.

But this process yielded no results.

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