(Source: SAMWU). The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in all nine provinces, particularly in the Western Cape, says it supports the farmworkers’ strike in pursuit of a living wage.
Farmworkers in Africa’s economic powerhouse South Africa earn a weekly wage of R350 (about 45 USD). Fed-up farmworkers in the Western Cape province have been protesting against this ‘miserable’ wage, asking for better working conditions.
The protest, which has been vehemently criticised for its violent stance, continues unabated. A 24-year-old protestor died after a week of violent protests in the small town of De Doorns after he was struck by a rubber bullet, the Daily Maverick reported today.
Yet, the union is adamant the strike must go on.
“Farmworkers are the backbone of our food security, yet they receive a slave wage of R69.00 per day,” SAMWU deputy provincial Secretary Kurt Ziervogel said in a statement yesterday. “These wages clearly cannot sustain the livelihood of a farm worker, or any worker for that matter,” he added.
The union says the slave wage farmworkers receive perpetuates the poverty cycle of workers in South Africa, which continues to reduce living standards and the quality of life, by not being able to provide workers families with the basics.
“What is disturbing is the arrogance of the farmers in the De Doorns area, who are not willing to move above the current R69.00 (7 USD) per day,” Ziervogel said. “Farmers are more interested in spending money in the area of security to protect their excessive gains. Farmers cannot be allowed to build empires at the expense of workers.”
The union says it is currently engaging its members to come out in their numbers to lend support to farmworkers and their struggle for a living wage. “We also note with concern the actions of the South African Police who were shooting indiscriminately at workers. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. We call on the parties involved to reach an agreement that will be acceptable to the workers.”
*Photo by http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com. A police car is overturned by angry strikers in South Africa.