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Progress in talks with farmers: Cosatu

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By SAPA

Cape Town - Town-by-town discussions with Western Cape farmers are progressing well, Cosatu in the province said on Friday.

“We hope to get agreement with many of the farmers over the weekend,” Western Cape Congress of SA Trade Unions secretary Tony Ehrenreich told reporters in Worcester, about 34km from De Doorns, where violent protests erupted on Wednesday.

Ehrenreich said discussions were happening between worker unions and some individual farmers, with the assistance of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

“There are good farmers, but there are still bad farmers who don't want to negotiate and raise wages above R69 per day,” he said.

Seasonal workers wanted R150 per day. Ehrenreich said they were willing to compromise to around R110 per day.

“We will continue to call for a boycott of bad farmers and help good farmers to get more market access.”

The individual farmers agreed to a meeting organised by Cape Orchards Company chairman Gerhard de Kock. The company represents 12 farms in the De Doorns Hex River Valley, which together produce approximately three million boxes of table grapes a year.

De Doorns had been the epicentre of violent clashes between protesters and police on Wednesday and Thursday. It was quiet on Friday, with police patrolling the highway, which remained closed to traffic.

Police spokesman Lt-Col Andre Traut said at least 118 people had been arrested on public violence related charges since Wednesday. - Sapa

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