South Africa farm workers get 52 percent pay raise


Striking farm workers and other protestors throw stones, while hiding behind broken road signs during violent clashes with members of the South African Police Services (not visible), on January 10, 2013 in de Doorns, a small farming town about 140 km North of Cape Town, South Africa. The farm workers have said that they they will not return to work on the fruit growing region's farms until they receive a daily wage of at least R150 ($17) per day, which is about double what they currently earn.



South African farm workers have received a 52 percent pay raise after a violent strike in the Western Cape region.

Labor Minister Mildred Oliphant said the new minimum wage would go up to 105 rand — about $12 — from the previous 69 rand, or about $8. Though it's a significant raise, the sum is less than the 150 rand, or about $17, the workers had requested.

"I would urge organized business and labor in the agricultural sector to use this opportunity to come together to find ways of improving labor relations in their sector," Oliphant said.

One person died in protests during January's two-week strike, which was suspended when the government promised to review the workers' wages.

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Workers first went on strike in November, but farmers claimed the pay raise they were demanding would be unaffordable, reported Sky News. Vineyards, property and vehicles were set on fire in towns near Cape Town and sparked numerous clashes with police, who retaliated by firing rubber bullets at protesters.

According to the Australian, the organized agriculture sector said the pay hike would lead to approximately 700,000 people losing their jobs.