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More labour strikes in South African fruit industry

More than 1500 workers, all members of FAWU employed by the Du Toit Agri Pty Ltd Group in Ceres, Prince Alfred Hamlet and Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape went on a strike today, Thursday, 12 November from 13h00 in demand of a wage increase and better working conditions. The company is said to be the leading packing and exporter of fruit and vegetables in the country.

Last week a strike involving 2,000 banana workers at organic producer Umbhaba Banana Estates Farms, took place. During September and October there was also a strike at Ceres Fruit Growers which was finally resolved 13 October.

"FAWU members in the Western Cape are demanding a 9.5% wage increase while the company is offering an 8.25% increment. Our members are also aggrieved over the huge wage gaps between workers in the Western Cape as opposed to those working at Langkloof in Humansdorp, Eastern Cape," according to a statement from FAWU.

"Our members in the Western cape earn about R 1200 per week while those at Langkloof Cape earn the same amount in a fortnight. We see this as pure and utter discrimination. In order to reduce the wage gap, employees in Humansdorp are asking for a 10.5% wage increase. It is totally unfair to our members who work for the same employer performing the same job."

FAWU members are also on strike over the company's proposal to grant new employees a pathetic 2% contribution towards the provident fund while permanent union members are already at 5 % with the employer contributing the other 5%.

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