“Sapa het berig Tony Ehrenreich het in Worcester gesê die stakende plaaswerkers sal onderhandel tot minstens R110 per dag.”
In ’n nuwe verslag wat die lone in die landboubedryf ontleed met die oog op ’n nuwe sektorale vasstelling word ’n onuithoubare balanseertoertjie vir boere én plaaswerkers onthul.
Tog is die R150-loon wat die plaaswerkers in die Wes-Kaap tans eis nie genoeg vir ’n gebalanseerde dieet nie.
Sou die loon tot R150 verhoog word, sal die landbousektor se vergoedingsrekening met 53% toeneem.
Die verslag is Dinsdag bekend gemaak.
Die navorsingspan onder leiding van dr. Ferdi Meyer het gevind die gemiddelde loon vir seisoenale plaaswerkers is R84,90 per dag.
Die huidige sektorale vasstelling bepaal R69 as dagloon.
As die loon met R10 per dag verhoog word, sal ’n tipiese aartappelplaas se koste met R25 783 per hektaar per jaar styg.
Teen R150 meer per dag word die koste per hektaar R291?247 meer.
Hierdie verslag om die sektore te ontleed is deel van die aanvanklike ooreenkoms tussen Agri SA en die koalisie vir die stakers.
Die verslag toon die meeste bedrywe kan ’n toename tot sowat R104 per dag absorbeer, maar dit gaan beteken dat die skuif na meganisasie versnel. Sapa het eergisteraand berig Tony Ehrenreich, Wes-Kaapse sekretaris van Cosatu, het in Worcester gesê die stakende plaaswerkers sal onderhandel tot minstens R110 per dag.
Wat die navorsers die “werkersdilemma” noem, is dat selfs R150 per dag vir die meeste arm huishoudings van vier nie genoeg is vir genoeg kos nie.
Die koste van ’n daaglikse bord kos vir so ’n gesin beloop R460 per maand.
Deur Sune Kitshoff
Western Cape Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary Tony Ehrenreich is inconsiderate and insensitive for encouraging farmworkers to go on strike, Independent Democrats MPL Rodney Lentit said on Wednesday.
“It is blatant exploitation of farmworkers that Tony Ehrenreich encourages these farm strikes at the start of the year, when finances are tight and workers have to compensate for various commitments, especially school fees and debt incurred over the festive season,” he said in a statement.
“This is nothing but cheap, political window-dressing at the expense of the poor. The last thing any worker needs is to start the year without having earned a wage or salary when the rest of the country is recovering from festive spending.”
Ehrenreich said he could not respond to the allegations because they were not based on facts.
“Doesn’t he [Lentit] read the papers? All Cosatu is doing is assisting the farmworkers,” he said.
“I can’t respond to something like that, because there isn’t a party like that [the ID], that exists in real terms.”
Lentit said he visited farms in Porterville and the “surrounding areas” on Wednesday morning, and saw that farmworkers were back at their jobs.
“For those few workers who have been encouraged by Tony Ehrenreich to strike, I plead with them to do so in a peaceful and law-abiding way,” he said.
The strike was suspended last year following an undertaking that negotiations would continue between workers’ representatives and individual farmers. However, this proved unsuccessful.
Workers wanted wages of R150 a day and a coherent land reform programme.
At least two people were killed during protests in farming areas between August 27 and December 4.
Lentit said those farm owners whose annual turnover was significantly higher than others needed to compensate their workers.
“It is an issue that needs to be addressed with urgency as not all farmers are categorised, or can afford to pay their workers more than the basic or standard wage,” he said.
Around 50 people were arrested on Wednesday when renewed farm strikes turned violent.
Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said riot police had been deployed to contain the situation in the Boland farming town of De Doorns.
“We are taking action, and arrests are being effected,” Traut said, adding that “in the region of 50″ people had been detained since the protests began early on Wednesday.
Protesters stoned cars, prompting the police to close roads. The N1 was closed outside De Doorns, forcing motorists to use alternative routes.
Farmworkers said they would not return to the vineyards on Wednesday afternoon as the situation had become too volatile.
Source – ID: Ehrenreich insensitive
The Western Cape labour conflict is being contested in more arenas than merely the farmlands. It’s descending into a war of words, too, with the DA laying a charge of incitement to violence against Cosatu Western Cape Secretary Tony Ehrenreich, after the distribution of Nehawu’s contentious poster.
The staff of Cape Town Central Police Station must know the drill by now. Politicians march in, trailed by journalists, and announce they wish to lay a charge of incitement to violence. It first happened last Wednesday, when ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile, provincial legislature chief whip Pierre Uys and Boland party chair Pat Marran trotted in to file lay a charge of incitement against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Zille, they said, had agitated the violence in the winelands through her behaviour on Twitter.
The police officer taking down the statement asked what proof they had. Mjongile produced a bundle of pages and said they contained a record of Zille’s tweets on the subject of the winelands protests. Among the tweets they singled out as problematic was her suggestion on 14 November that “Reports coming that a farmer has died after being assaulted in Wellington. Grave risk of retaliation. Zuma must bring in SADF.” Zille shortly afterwards tweeted casting doubt on whether this was true, and then again later the same day retracted the claim, but ANC Provincial Secretary Songezo Mjongile said the damage had been done. Mjongile alleged that farmers had mobilised on Facebook as a result of Zille’s claims, leading to the assault of farmworkers.
Zille called the charge against her a “publicity stunt”. But apparently a lot can change in a week, because the DA has now laid its own charges of incitement against Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich, on the basis of a pamphlet being circulated around Cape Town.
The DA must have had to do some thorough testing of the authenticity of the pamphlet, because during the current labour unrest they have already been caught out once leaping on a document which turned out to be false – the fake ANC flyer purporting to offer workers money for participating in protests. The ANC, you might recall, then claimed that the DA themselves had made it, in another bizarre round of their political ping-pong.
But this time round, it seems that the pamphlet is indeed legitimate – and it has nothing to do with farmworkers. It bears the logo of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and features a picture of Western Cape Cosatu leader Tony Ehrenreich raising his fist while addressing a crowd. “Cosatu speaks to Western Cape government workers,” runs the heading, and beneath that is a call to government workers to “picket against DA persecution” by joining a protest on Friday 30 November outside the Provincial Legislature.
“Nehawu is calling on ALL the workers in the provincial government to show their disgust at the apartheid style persecution of professionals who are not seen as DA party hacks!” it reads. Under the photo of Ehrenreich, it reminds the reader: “Cde Tony Ehrenreich has warned Premier Helen Zille on the imminent Marikana of the Western Cape!!!”
At the bottom, in capital letters, it concludes: “FEEL IT!!! WESTERN CAPE MARIKANA IS HERE!!!”
It is the latter phrasing that has caused outrage. Since “Feel it” was one of the World Cup catchphrases, the exhortation seems to try to yoke the excitement of 2010 to the horror of the Marikana miners’ strike, in which over 40 people died. Nick Clelland, the Western Cape government’s director of strategic communication, tweeted in response to the pamphlet: “What sort of nasty mind conflates the joy of the World Cup with Marikana?”
And so DA Western Cape leader Ivan Meyer duly arrived at the Barrack Street police station on Thursday afternoon to lay charges of incitement to violence against Tony Ehrenreich, in his capacity as Cosatu provincial secretary. “Cosatu is using the symbolism and violence of Marikana to promote its public gatherings,” the DA announced. The pamphlet, said the DA, “resonates with Mr Ehrenreich’s highly inflammatory remark earlier this month when he said ‘Marikana is coming to the farms in the Western Cape’.”
According to reports, Ehrenreich allegedly made the statement on 7 November during meetings in De Doorns, when he said that “the ill treatment and under-payment of workers by some farmers must stop, otherwise we will see a Marikana in De Doorns”. This statement seems substantially different in tone and meaning – a warning rather than an exhortation – to that of the offending Nehawu posters, but the DA sees the two as amounting to much the same thing.
The Daily Maverick asked Nehawu provincial secretary Luthando Logcinisa if the posters were authentic. Yes, he said. He explained that they grew out of a frustration on the part of the union that the provincial government was refusing to engage with them on “a number of issues we are unhappy about”. Among these, he cited the case of 50 Nehawu members in the Department of Social Development who are being made to re-apply for their jobs two years after being appointed, because “they were informed that the process that they had undergone was done incorrectly.” Logcinisa said: “We said, there is no way that two years later you can ask people to re-apply for their jobs.”
The DA’s Western Cape media manager, Liza Albrecht, responded to this by calling the claim “confused”, telling the Daily Maverick that “the Social Development Department is restructuring and modernising its organogram in order to best serve the public.”
Another issue worrying Nehawu, Logcinisa said, was “the rate at which Nehawu shop stewards are being targeted” within provincial government. If the union’s shop stewards speak out, he claimed, they end up “getting charged with something”. (The DA said it did not see “any substance” to this claim.) Logcinisa also alleged that there had been a “systematic purging” of people of colour from senior management positions.
In response to this claim, Albrecht sent the Daily Maverick statistics to show that the workforce profile statistics for the Western Cape government’s four upper occupation levels (Top Management, Senior Management, Professionally Qualified and Skilled Technical) indicate that 77.7% (39, 276 of 50, 521) “fall within the designated ‘black’ group”.
Regardless of Nehawu’s claims, however, what about the issue of whether it was appropriate to reference Marikana in publicising a government picket? “What we were saying was that the employer, the provincial government, has come up with innovative ways of suppressing dissent,” Logcinisa said. But why link the picket to an event where many people died? “No, what we were saying is not about dying,” he said. “It’s about defiance. We are going to defy their unlawfulness. The DA claims to uphold the laws, but they flout them whenever they feel like it.”
He said also that Tony Ehrenreich was not involved with the production of the posters – that they were solely a Nehawu initiative.
The DA’s Albrecht told the Daily Maverick that the issue of whether Ehrenreich had actually had a role in the poster production was moot, in that the charge had been laid against him in his capacity as provincial secretary of Cosatu. “Nehawu is an affiliate of Cosatu and therefore Cosatu and Ehrenreich are responsible,” she said.
“It must be clear that the issue here is the glorifying of Marikana even as grieving families mourn those who lost their lives in that tragedy,” Albrecht said. “These Nehawu claims are so broad and baseless that it confuses the issue, which is the inciteful language in the poster.”
There has been a dangerously loose use of language from many quarters during the Western Cape labour dispute. Premier Helen Zille was also strongly criticised by refugee rights groups for citing unrest between Basotho and Zimbabweans as a contributor to the issue, with groups like People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) saying the citing of xenophobic tensions could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In calling the people of the Western Cape to merrily rally around Marikana in order to picket the provincial legislature, however, Nehawu has surely overstepped the mark, any mark.