Oliphant unaware of planned farmworkers' strike

Between November and January there were three separate strikes marred by violence.

FILE: Striking farmworkers hurl rocks at police during a protest for better wages in De Doorns in the Western Cape, Thursday, 10 January 2013. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Monday she's not aware of any plans for farmworkers in Cape Town to go on strike again in the coming weeks.

For some time now there have been claims of farm labourers intending to down tools.

Between last November and January this year there were three separate strikes which were marred by violence.

In March, the basic minimum wage for the sector was increased to R105.

The farming sector in the Cape was on the brink of another strike in May when the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) claimed workers in De Doorns were being replaced with staff sourced through labour brokers.

Oliphant said she recently met with union bosses and labourers, adding she knows of no planned strike.

"I said they mustn't mislead the workers and I also spoke to farmworkers and told them not to allow to be misled by their leaders."

In January, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) warned of further industrial action if it was found employers were not paying farmworkers the new minimum wage.

Oliphant said she's urged workers to voice any concerns directly with their employers.