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Farming sector could face strike action for improved conditions

The Labour Dept announced an increase of 95 cents in the minimum wage of labourers.

FILE: Workers will now get R14,25 per hour instead of the previous R13,30 per hour. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Rural and Allied Workers Union says farmworkers may have to resort to drastic measures once again to compel government to further improve their working conditions.

A few years ago, thousands of farmworkers across the Western Cape embarked on a series of chaotic strikes, demanding better wages.

Yesterday, the Labour Department announced an i ncrease of 95 cents in the minimum wage of labourers and those working in the forestry sector.

The department says it couldn't increase the amount to R150 a day due to the threat of job losses.

Workers will now get R14,25 per hour instead of the previous R13,30 per hour.

This brings their daily pay to R128,26.

The union's Nosey Pieterse says government is ignoring the plight of farmworkers.

"We made presentations to different portfolio committees. They know exactly what we want and yet this is the peanuts that we are offered. Maybe they agree that with them that we are monkeys that is why they gave us peanuts."