Farm workers end strike and call for Cosatu’s exit

The farm worker strike in the Western Cape is over, but no agreements have been reached regarding a minimum wage.

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The strike has produced no winners with two deaths, numerous farm hectares burnt down by protesters, shops looted and no clear outcome.

Cosatu was however forced to retreat after farm workers established the Farm Workers Forum and said that they didn’t need Cosatu to negotiate on their behalf. Magrieta Futhwa, chairperson of the Forum, said that although they agreed that the minimum wage was too low, the way in which the strikes took place was wrong “We don’t agree with the violence and feel that Cosatu only used us for political gain. They did not even consult us on any of their demands.”

Meanwhile Cosatu released a statement with a host of threats should farmers not provide “decent wages, good conditions on farms and land reform”. Cosatu also said that it would now focus its attention to drive and coordinate a national strike against Agri SA and their ‘bad members’.

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Theo de Jager, deputy president of Agri SA said that Cosatu has sour grapes because the strike did not have the outcome that they promised it would and now wanted to retaliate against Agri SA. The minimum wage for farm workers will come under review in March, when the sectoral determination will establish the new wage.