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  • South Africa: Increase in farm workers minimum wage met with caution

    By JoeyA | February 5, 2013

    BBC News

    South Africa has increased the basic daily wage of farm workers by 52% following a violent strike in the wine-producing Western Cape region, the labour minister has said.

    Mildred Oliphant said the new minimum wage would be $12 (£8) – up from $8 but less than the $17 the workers had demanded.

    At least one person was killed during January’s two-week strike.

    The strike was suspended after the government promised a wage review.

    Most of the Western Cape’s 3,000 farm workers are not employed on a permanent basis – despite working on the farms for many years.

    They work seasonally to pick and pack fruit and said they could no longer survive on their previous wages.

    Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to end protests last month, when striking workers blockaded roads and burnt the cars of journalists.

    An owner of a small shop was killed, allegedly by police, after being caught in the crossfire in the town of De Doorns, a top grape-producing area in the Western Cape.

    Two people were also killed in a similar strike last year and $11m-worth of damage was caused when some vineyards were set alight.

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