The farmworker strike in the Sundays River Valley region is continuing after the parties involved failed to reach an agreement during a meeting in Gqeberha on Thursday. This was according to Zanele Matiwane, an attorney representing the farmworkers. He stated that progress had been made in the negotiations, but there was not yet a clear direction for the way forward as all the farmworkers’ demands had not yet been met.
“The results of the negotiations will now be discussed with the community, who will have to decide what they will do next; whether they will continue to strike or not. The next meeting with the farmers has been scheduled for Tuesday 10 May.”
While the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) had been leading negotiations until last week, workers had since established a workers’ forum to present themselves.
Dr Hennie Ehlers, chairperson of the Sundays River Valley Citrus Producers’ Forum, said the vast majority of farmworkers were already earning more than the minimum wage, thanks to a range of incentives that had been introduced by farmers in the region.
“Growers simply cannot pay any more, as the current wave of violent and destructive protests will have a compounding effect on the sustainability of citrus farms in the region. [Farmers] are already under immense financial pressure due to rising input costs, which are aggravated by inefficiencies at ports, the global supply chain crises, and the war in Ukraine.”