Unions: Government should force talks

2013-01-04 22:06

Cape Town - Government should compel Agri-SA to return to the negotiating table with farm workers, unions said in Cape Town on Friday.

The unions that include the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), the Food and Allied Workers Unions (Fawu) and Sikhula Sonke announced farm workers would resume their strike on 9 January.

Last year's violent strike action was suspended after it was decided that workers' representatives would enter negotiations with individual farmers.

"There's been no progress that's been significant in the negotiations with Agri-SA or with the South African government," Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said.

He said workers had resolved to continue to strike until their demands were met.

"The two main issues will be the R150 a day that workers are demanding, and a coherent land reform programme that sees workers who are historical inhabitants of many sections of the land reinstated on the land, in partnership with many of the farmers who presently own it," said Ehrenreich.

Fawu gave their backing to farm workers, adding it was not too late for farmers to break the deadlock.

"Those farmers who want to co-operate and have [been in] negotiations with us, we don't have any problems with that," said Fawu organiser Sandile Keni.

The announcement of the strike resuming follows a meeting between the unions and labour department director-general Nkosinathi Nhleko.

"The Labour DG said he was concerned that while unions said they had made progress in their negotiations with [some] individual employers over the holiday season, there were reports of a 'hardening of attitudes' among others," the department said in a statement.

Nhleko also met with representatives from Agri-SA on Friday.

"Nhleko conveyed the wishes of government that real, substantive negotiations should commence as soon as possible, to avert further troubles that could seriously affect the country's economy."

  • lownabester - 2013-01-04 22:24

    Rubbish, Agri SA can do what they please, we dont need the ANC in the Western Cape.

      berni.venter - 2013-01-04 23:14

      @lownabester Elections around the corner dear. Got to be seen doing something to win votes. Unfortunately the fact is that foot stomping singing crowds will fall for it hook line and sinker... And then cry on TV that food is unaffordable :D

      mariuskowie - 2013-01-05 07:32

      Agri SA is getting used. The real issue is land grabs. "...historical inhabitants of many sections of the land reinstated on the land..." They are actually demanding land without compensation. The rest is a well orchestrated smokescreen.

      sven.gohre - 2013-01-05 09:01

      @mariuskowie, you have gone straight to the heart of the whole strike fiasco. How can the farmers be blamed for paying what the CancER government has legislated. Why are the unions not addressing this with their "Partners" in government instead of holding the farmers to ransom, especially so near to the grape harvesting season. The whole demand for a 100% increase in wages is nothing but a smoke screen to try and force farmers to cede portions of their property to their workers and once they have made that concession, it will not be long before that type of creep will force the legitimate farmers of their land. Zimbabwe land grabs done by stealth, but a land grab none the less.

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-04 22:28

    Forked tongued, double-dealing devils. COSATU co-signed the farm labour wages into law in Feb 2011. At the same time they also co-signed R28p/h for State workers. No-one has been able to explain why it took NINE months for news of this 'deal' to reach the people affected. This is collusion and political manipulation at its worst.

      mark.a.fysh - 2013-01-04 23:11

      Well said, LW. Tony Ehrenreich has surprised himsef and had a wet dream.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-05 00:37

      Now we see the violence inherent in the system

      JohnB - 2013-01-05 06:57

      Just to think that this low life Tony Ehrenreich was once a candidate for the Mayoral position in the WC, F'Me heaven forbid.

      Klaus - 2013-01-05 08:22

      George Reisman ( Labor Unions, Thugs and Storm Troopers

  • gary.desousa.5 - 2013-01-04 22:36

    This is the beginning of a Thatcher type all out assult on the unions/gov,go for it

  • marica.moolman - 2013-01-04 22:44

    Unions bosses are so transparent... It's shameful... If only they cared enough for South Africans as they do for their political futures

  • mlzubiri - 2013-01-04 22:56

    I think what they realy wan't to say is that Gov't must force the farmers to lie down piss on thier bellies and agree to what Tony shouts. Forcing people to sit around the table giving each other the finger wont get anyone anywhere fast. What the union fails to realize is that the limits have been reached in South Africa. The last blood has been squeezed from the stone. Any more cost increases and jobs will fly out the window very fast indeed!

  • thembinkosi.jozie - 2013-01-05 00:11

    When are the unions going to force talks among Ramaposa Motsepe Khulubuse and the miners? Khulubuse hasn't paid the miners for 2 years.Where r u Cosatu? Were u not ashamed when SOLiDARITY gave food parcels to hungry Khulubuse's miners While Cosatu and NUM did nothing? Cosatu leave the farmers alone!! Deal with KHulubuse and Ramaposa first!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-05 00:45

      Intermediaries such as Unions work when there are no laws. We now have a plethora of laws, processes and procedures. Unions over the last year have just shown what a weak-kneed, lily-livered and ultimately of no-account bandits they are. They deal with nothing. They've sworn to further the cause of the worker yet 18yrs later their crowning achievement is many dead and destitute people. COSATU is part of The Alliance that runs this country, yet all they've been able to do for the worker, the voter, is get them unemployed and/killed.

      nuus.reeder - 2013-01-05 06:30

      Obviously Cosatu never criticizes their mates. Look how their affiliates, Sadtu, treat the children of our country, with the full backing of Cosatu/ANC.

      george.mabena.146 - 2013-01-05 06:55

      Thembinkosi it tells you our unions and government are old fashioned.We don't need a polarised S.A.If only we can stop our racial spats then will come alright.Ofcourse there are still race problems but we shouldn't all be blind to abvious issues.

      piwa.fihlela - 2013-01-05 07:22

      Were u sleeping when there was a mass action in Lonmin (Marikana) where Ramaphosa owns shares?in Aurora there was a mass action hence management is engaging with workers 2day.are u deliberately ignoring the mass action organised by Cosatu against the e-tolls?pls these r genuine concerns by works lets nt play politics with peoplez lives

  • Terrence.dejager - 2013-01-05 00:40

    This is a minimum wage dispute, is it not? Doesn't that fall into the remit of the government & policy owners? Surely the relevant government departments should be actively involved in the discussion since they represent the best interests of the disenfranchised parties, not just in the WC but across the country? If the current policies support the wage spectrum and the government is unwilling to apply the necessary resources to review them then by implication the government supports the policy.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-05 00:56

      The govt in this instance is The Alliance - COSATU, ANC, SACP. They ALL signed the min wage act in Feb 2011. This act covered, amongst others, farm labour and State Worker min wages. Farm workers R7.71 per hour. Across the country, across all agricultural sectors. At the same time this same govt, of which COSATU is a member, signed into law R27.80 p/hr for State workers. This was enacted in March 2011. It took NINE months for the farm workers in the W. Cape to get annoyed. Apparently the rest of the country's farm workers are not upset.

      Mary Milne Archibald - 2013-01-05 04:58

      Asked this before and no answer. Think it is just a ploy to destabilise WC before 2014 elections.

      nuus.reeder - 2013-01-05 06:33

      Government employees give Cosatu millions of rands, farm labour is barely unionised, so don't give them much. Proves they only look after the interests of those who enrich them. Unions are just a business really, a business that generates income but produces nothing at all.

  • Notrax123 - 2013-01-05 01:05

    Tony, do a handstand on the toilet pot, raise yoir right hand and flush.

  • philip.gray.10048 - 2013-01-05 01:50

    I am sick and tired of these commie trade unions and their BS. Agri-Sa should tell them to go and stick their demands in the place where the sun does not shine. I am also sick and tired of their constant Demand Demand. I am also tired of the BS that they must get land back that was never theirs.

  • spillies - 2013-01-05 02:40

    This whole problem is only about ONE thing: Trying to get anc pathetic rule over the Western Cape. This idiot, Tony Ehrenreich, or something, (who the hell cares who he is), is using the poor and gullible to believe the most ridiculous lies. If this doesn't succeed, they will find something new, because point is: NOTHING IS WRONG IN THE WESTERN CAPE!! Wake up anc. The Western Cape will NEVER EVER be under your absolute pathetic party again.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-05 09:20

      Spillies. Yes, and dear Tony earns two salaries a month. So anything coming from him is a joke.

  • pieter.visser.9883 - 2013-01-05 03:41

    I smell a Zim-BoB-We style of negotiation coming soon to all successful farmers. You either give them what they want, or they'll take it from you one way or the other. Everyone loses in the end..

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2013-01-05 04:08

    and the shelves in the supermarkets will run be imported, people loose jobs, government officials lining their pockets with backhands. SA turns into a Communist state...that is what they want. people will depend on the state for a long time, no more rich, no more poor, just dependent sheep.

  • ernest.lwandle - 2013-01-05 04:54

    O how i wish that i could join my fellow brothers on this one, injury to one is an injury to all, ASIJIKI COMRADES.

      Heibrin - 2013-01-05 05:02

      And when one goes hungry so will all.

      ernest.lwandle - 2013-01-05 06:07

      Good question now im speechless.but we used to be told like that when we grew up so cANCer s biggest mistake was not to tell the people to change slogans,and attitudes.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-05 09:22

      Ernest.lwandle. Are you for real?.

      themba.thwala.775 - 2013-01-05 09:26

      Join them when they have been fired and sitting at home starving too

  • adrian.hill.750 - 2013-01-05 05:19

    2013, the year that the farm workers totally destroy the farming industry and their own livelyhood. Viva unions, slowly killing off evey single goose in this country. The unions and workers don't seem to understand that once they destroy their employers they sit without work and an income.

  • ernest.lwandle - 2013-01-05 05:32

    Better life must come to all nations,we dont need no more first class and second class citezenship of any nation we!v been picking grapes many years ago so statue of liberty light up your torch.

  • ernest.lwandle - 2013-01-05 05:37

    Injustice anywhere is the threat to justice everywhere

      themba.thwala.775 - 2013-01-05 12:02

      Hooliganism (carrying pangas, machetes, etc and savaging others others) during the strike is a threat to job security and peace everywhere

  • sarel.brits - 2013-01-05 06:00

    Tik Tok time is running out for SA keep on striking COSATU, soon we will be back in the dark age's this time with ANC land barons and we all know we are going to go hungry.

  • leaproach.thekeeper - 2013-01-05 06:07

    Methinks the farmers are ready for them this time. Serious security private firms awaiting any ill manners. This time they'll get their assess whipped.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-05 09:27

      Tshlilo.siobe. Security firms are not above the law, but strikers are?. Fueling emotions?. Fransman and Ehrenreich are doing that very well. After all at the end of the day they have a house and a steak dinner to return to and the farm workers may very well be without work. Do you think these two ANC puppets will then feed them?.

  • Warren Wepener - 2013-01-05 06:26

    If the farm workers do not want to work at the current rate bring in other unemployed workers who knows its a honor to be given a job. You will probably find the production will also go up farmers will produce more and better quality more money will go back for expansion more unemployed workers gets jobs: crazy farmworkers who can't think for themselfs

  • peter.mokoena.31 - 2013-01-05 06:30

    'Force' will never amount to any compromise, The leadership in government will found wanting, beyond 2024, cause these will be same slate of people in government. The government is failing in its own people and stop blaming organizatons and others.

  • louis.nolte.3 - 2013-01-05 07:14

    Its no use we make all these comments on news24. We too should be in the news voicing our discontent with these imbiciles! We're going to lose everything if we don't stand up and change things - nothing's impossible.

  • nico.eksteen.7 - 2013-01-05 07:17

    Give them the new wage that will be set by government and then apply the Labour Laws very strictly. Set targets and if not met take disciplinary action and fire them. No more nice conditions to work in. No more special privilages like getting free food, shelter and transport. They want to be handled like skilled workers in a professional environment so let them have it.

  • Ndangah Alan Mmberegeni - 2013-01-05 08:02

    everybody got a right to strike, but we must remember that people dat are working in the farm their not working under the goverment their working under a person , the owner of the farm can agree on the increase of the money that they want, and if the farmer is having 200 people working on his farm, 100 must lose their job, and no one can force him to give them job back, neither cosatu does not have that right, farmer can give them a job that a goverment cant give them,

  • Ndangah Alan Mmberegeni - 2013-01-05 08:05

    go to the strike but, i hope their not going to close the road and damaging other people building, killing inocent people

  • rabeka.silinda - 2013-01-05 08:36

    everyone deserves a better salary in order to have a decent starndard of living,its about time that farm owners stop exploiting thier workers.

      sven.gohre - 2013-01-05 09:28

      rabeka, it is people like you who seem to have no idea where money comes from that cause most of the problems that South Africa is facing today. Let me explain something yo you in a way that you may understand. Farming is a business that needs a very special skill as well as business sense to run a successful farm. Like all businesses farmers have to be able to afford all the costs that it takes to bring in a successful harvest. These costs are Labour (the greatest cost), lease agreements with the banks for capital equipment, cost of electricity, water, diesel, fertilisers, pesticides, servicing of farm equipment and good fortune when it comes to the weather playing fair. Now if labour becomes unaffordable, as it will be if the workers are granted their demands for more money, even though they have no special skills and there are millions of unqualified people looking for work, the farmer will have no option but to lay off all his staff and turn to machinery to do the harvest. The only people who will then score is John Deer and his huge family of workers that will work 24/7/365 without ever getting tired or ever striking for anything. Then all those workers that were striking for R150/day will be earning R0/day and starving somewhere in the veld. Be very careful how far you push the employer, because you may feel you do all the work, but without him there is no work for you to do.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-05 09:30

      Rabeka,silinda. The farmers pay their workers the wages as set by government. So who is doing the exploiting here?. Know what you want to talk about in future.

      themba.thwala.775 - 2013-01-05 12:16

      Rabeka is someone forcing the farmworkers to stay? Why can't they go and find better paying jobs elsewhere ifd they are not happy? Do you burn down youe employers' building when s/he does not give you an increase?

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-05 09:14

    They had their parties and now they want action. The ANC in the W.P is a headless, incompetent group of silly people far removed from making the grade. So they get farm workers to mess about, while they eat steak every day.No wonder everything is falling apart in this country.

  • luna.moon.5243817 - 2013-01-05 09:27

    The demands for Agri SA to come to the table to negotiate a deal with the farm workers, flamed up again after talks with the DG of I don't think so!!

  • obadia.segwape - 2013-01-05 10:54

    this farmers just likes cheap labour just like thier parents who used to kill,exploit and abuse us

      themba.thwala.775 - 2013-01-05 12:04

      While one can sympathise with the plight of farmworkers generally, nothing justifies hooliganism and burning down of property. Besides, no one forces farm workers to accept low pay. They can go and seek more paying jobs everywhere like every other sane minded being

      alexandra.nett - 2013-01-06 10:48

      @Obadia......If you feel you are such cheap labour then seek employment elsewhere. The minimum wage is set by ANC GOVERNMENT and not the farmer. In fact, instead of griping why do you not pull yourself up by your bootstraps....go and PURCHASE a piece of land (yes pay for it yourself)and get the assistance from the government to start your own farm and employ your own workers and WORK HARD YOURSELF to establish your own income.....then come and talk here when you have earned the right to.

  • zs5zk - 2013-01-05 13:50

    Farmers, Please employ all the WHITE unemployed people of this Country as they do not strike, or are Communists and they have Discipline and respect for others Property and themselves, Thus you would help the White Race in this Country where no Whites are allowed to be employed.

  • Klaus - 2013-01-05 15:30

    poor Ehrenreich lost his Mojo / wanga, now he is all twisted and bitter - please, someone find it for him ?

  • lehole.m.masekela - 2013-01-11 21:27

    Who cares what people are saying on news24?Opinions will always differ whether we like it or not due to the fact that most people think race before issues.

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