Labour dept calls for comment on wages

2012-11-16 21:10
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant (File, Beeld)

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Interested parties have been invited to comment on a possible review of the sectoral determination for farmworkers, the labour department said on Friday.

The sectoral determination prescribed the minimum wages and conditions of employment for farmworkers, the department said in a statement.

"I would like to urge all the parties to go into these talks with openness and willingness, to bring to a close the recent events that have been threatening to engulf our country and put it on a dangerous course regarding food security," Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said in the statement.

"Most of the representatives have shown that they are interested in putting the needs of the country first, instead of their [own] narrow interests, and I would like to commend them."

Spreading protests

Protests over wages in the Western Cape spread across the Boland, with table grape harvesters demanding to be paid R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day. The strike was continuing in other areas of the province.

On Friday, protesters looted shops and torched businesses in the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape. On Friday morning, roads, including the N2, were blockaded with rocks and burning tyres.

The department met with various farmers' unions on Friday and negotiations would start next Thursday. Eight representatives would represent the farmers and eight the workers.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration would mediate the negotiations.

Oliphant also called for an urgent meeting with the Commission for Conditions of Employment to advise her on the best way forward.

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