Members of the union, CSAAWU, have embarked on a protected strike at the Oak Valley Farm situated in the Elgin Valley following a breakdown in wage and other negotiations. The farm produces grapes, apple and pears as
well as commercial cut flowers. The workers are picketing outside the farm. National organising secretary of the Commercial Stevedore Agricultural and Allied Workers Union, Karel Swart says they are demanding a wage of 250 rand a day for te approximately 300 seasonal workers of the farm. They are currently earning the minimum daily wage of 180 rand. He says are also demanding that all seasonal workers be made permanent and the hostels on the farm,
be transformed into family units " The second thing that workers put on the table is the compounds the union demand that we must convert these compounds into family units our black people have no where to go upgrade these compounds and convert the compounds into family units and that is what we basically ask and that is a case of human rights demands" Management of the Oak Valley Farm company says months of negotiations have resulted in five illegal strikes and have now reached a deadlock. Managing director Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen says Oak Valley complies with the National minimum Wage Act for both permanent and seasonal workers. He says benefits at no cost to employees include free transport to work, rent-free on farm housing with subsidised electricity, 60 percent subsidised medical costs, provident fund company contribution of ten percent production bonusses, annual bonusses, a funeral fund of R10,000, subsidised daily meals for single quarter residents, a licensed creche, computer room and sports facilities. He says fruit farming is seasonal and the seasonal accommodation facility is being phased out.