Western Cape labour plan for farming, but union rejects it

2013-04-26 11:07

Western Cape agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg has launched a plan to tackle a number of issues in the farming sector.

The 12-point plan was aimed at avoiding further unrest in provincial farming, which was brought to a halt from November to January by a protest against low wages and poor living conditions, Cape Town daily, the Cape Argus, reported today.

“In the short to medium term, we will embark on a province-wide farm worker survey to get reliable information on farm workers and living conditions,” Van Rensburg told the newspaper.

This would help create a database of farm workers and generate reliable household profiles.

The department would create a toll-free number, which would be activated next month, for workers wanting to log grievances.

Van Rensburg said there would also be more engagement between farmers and their workers, through events such as monthly dinners and meetings.

A youth empowerment scheme was also on the cards and would result in matriculants, student interns and unemployed graduates being placed with host employers for practical farm experience.

These employers would reportedly be subsidised for taking in trainees.

The plan would also look at structures to create a platform or “voice” for farm workers.

Black Association of the Wine and Spirit Industry president Nosey Pieterse told the Cape Argus that the plan would fail without input from unions and farm worker organisations.

“This is a cheap stunt to get votes in 2014. We will encourage our members not to support this plan,” he said.

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