Farm workers’ ‘rights violated’

2015-09-10 06:00

WESTSEEDLINGS farm workers say that after the farm was sold in June to Luke Jenkins­ their rights have been violated.

August Mbhele from the Food and Allied Workers’ Union­ said he has received several­ complaints from workers in Paddock who say their working hours have changed.

“The workers are complaining that their employer has reduced their working hours, reduced their wages, and cancelled their provident fund,” said Mbhele.

Mbhele said as a union they have tried to meet with the employer­ to discuss the grievances, but to date he has been unable to meet with them.

One of the workers said the boss does not want to talk to them, saying they stopped work for a day so they could discuss their issues with him, but he called the police.

“Our boss has been very unfair to us. He makes us work overtime, but does not pay us. He said he will reduce our working hours without reason­,” said the female worker.

The worker said after taking a day off the boss called her while she was working and told her to get into his car.

“He called me and told me to get into his car because he was taking me to another plot to work on there alone because he said I was behind the protest action, instructing the other workers not to work,” she said

She refused to work on that plot because it is dangerous and she can’t work there alone.

“He said I must work on the macadamia nut plot, which is very secluded, and has many snakes, so I told him that as a female, I can’t work there.”

The worker alleges the boss then gave her a written warning and told her that he makes the rules because he owns the farm.

“The other workers were not happy with the way he treated me so we contacted Fawu and asked a spokesperson to come speak to him.

“The other day he told me he is giving me another warning and that I should prepare myself for a hearing.

“Then he told me to go home,” she said

The farm owner was contacted for comment, but refused to comment and said he won’t comment until he speaks to his lawyers

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