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Farmworkers to go on strike

Bawusa says around 4,000 workers are expected to go on strike.

Bawusa says around 4,000 workers are expected to go on strike. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN- Western Cape Agriculture Department says another farmworkers' strike couldn't come at a worse time as harvest season begins.

Trade union, Building and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Bawusa) says 4,000 workers employed by the JC Le Roux group on farms near Paarl, Stellenbosch and Piketberg downed tools on Thursday.

The group produces and exports table grapes, plums and citrus fruit.

It's been more than a year since the province's farming sector was rocked by a violent strike.

Workers demanded a daily wage increase of R150, compared to the R69 many claimed to be earning in accordance with the national sectoral determination for minimum wages in the farming sector.

The department's Wouter Kriel said, "We are now once again entering a harvest season, which is the time when formers can generate income which has to sustain them for the rest of the year. We are confident most of the farmers have in the past year consulted with their work force."

"We really would want to urge all role players to please conduct themselves in a dignified manner."

Bawusa also said while relations between it and some farmers are improving, some of its union members have not been called back to work and are now unemployed.