N1 still closed over farm protest

2013-01-09 14:45
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Farm protests in Western Cape

Hundreds of protesters resumed wage strikes resulting in clashes between farmworkers and the police. See the pictures.

De Doorns - The N1 highway in De Doorns remained closed to traffic on Wednesday afternoon amid continued clashes between farmworkers and the police.

Protesters blocked the road with rocks and threw stones at the police, who retaliated by firing rubber bullets.

The protest forms part of the first day of renewed strike action by workers in demand of a wage of R150 a day. A protester said she had no alternative but to strike, because she could not survive on R60 a day.

Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said at least 50 people were arrested across the Western Cape on Wednesday on public violence-related charges.

Porchia Adams, a spokesperson for farmers' group Agri Wes-Cape, said 80% of permanently employed farmworkers in the fruit-growing area had turned up for work on Wednesday.

She said most of those who did not, did not live on the farms. She claimed they had been coerced into staying away from work.

"They said they had been threatened that their houses would be burnt down if they went to work so it was not worth the risk for them."

Adams said that although the strike came at the worst time for fruit-growers, the group had understanding for "people being unhappy".

"It is peak season, so we really cannot afford it. We hope this will be resolved soon."

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts

- SAPA
Read more on:    cape town  |  farmworker protests
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