Johannesburg - SA's biggest grain processing and logistics companies and a Food and Allied Workers Union representing workers reached a wage agreement, averting a strike.
The pact, signed on Thursday, means that workers will get a wage increase of between 6 - 8% from companies, including Senwes, NWK, OWK and Suidwes, which are former agricultural co-operatives, said Riaan Gerritzen, a representative for the processors.
“We have signed an agreement and there will be no strike,” he said.
Workers were seeking above-inflation increases as South Africa, a net exporter of agricultural products, last year had the least rainfall since records started in 1904, damaging crops and herds and raising food prices.
The farmers will need as much as R16.6bn for the rest of the year until March to subsidise feed purchases, provide grants and interest-rate subsidies to aid commercial growers in financial distress and help operators pay workers, a study by AGRI SA and others showed.
Demands included an increase of at least R500 a month and a minimum wage of at least R4 500. Other requests include an extra month of pay annually, performance bonuses and a housing allowance of R850, said Fawu deputy general secretary Moleko Phakedi.
SA's annual inflation rate was 6.2% in April.