Farmworkers union threatens strike action

FAWU has threatened to strike if farm owners continue to use labour brokers to employer workers.

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

CAPE TOWN - The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) said on Tuesday it will meet with farmers in De Doorns in coming days as it claims they are trying to replace workers with staff sourced through labour brokers.

FAWU has threatened to call a strike unless the matter is dealt with.

De Doorns was the focal point of protest action related to a wave of strikes over wages late last year and in January this year.

While farmworkers demanded a wage hike of R150 per day employers were told to increase the daily wage to R105.

This became effective on 1 March.

Hundreds of farm owners have since applied for exemption of the new minimum wage saying they simply cannot afford it.

FAWU's Katishi Masemola said, "We're calling on farm owners to refrain from employing such practices or face the full might of the workers' anger."

He said if the situation was not resolved over the next 10 days, workers will go on strike.

"The strike would be protected and on those specific farms that are effectively using labour brokers."

Masemola said the strike would not affect farms complying with the minimum wage and employing workers directly.