'Status on farmworkers strike is unclear'

Agri SA isn’t entirely convinced all farmworker unions have suspended strike action in the Cape.

Agri SA isn’t entirely sure if all farmworker unions have suspended strike action in the Western Cape. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.

CAPE TOWN - Agri SA on Wednesday said it was not entirely convinced all organisations involved in the violent farmworkers strike in the Western Cape had heeded the call to suspend the industrial action.

Cosatu on Tuesday announced the strike had been called off.

This after workers resumed their strike almost three weeks ago demanding a daily wage of a R150 which is more than double to the R69 workers claim to be earning at the moment.

From the beginning of the strike last December, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) admitted many farmworkers were not unionised.

But the trade union federation insisted it was called in to help mobilise labourers and to assist in wage talks.

Agri SA's executive director, Hans van der Merwe, said the lack of organisation only added to the chaos that marred the industrial action.

He said it remained to be seen if strikers did in fact return to work today.

"It was a number of organisations involved, so I'm not really sure what the status is."

But van der Merwe claimed the strike was poorly supported.

He said about 90 percent of the province's farming labour force did not down tools.

Economists meanwhile say investor confidence has still been severely dented.