With the farmworker strike over pay looking likely to be resumed, on Sunday I attended a rally of perhaps 400 workers in Ashton in the Breede River Valley. Another meeting was taking place not all that far away, in De Doorns, where the wave of action began a few weeks back. Speakers included a few supportive organisations, including Mawabuye Land Rights Forum, and the independent union CSAAWU, which has some organised presence in the area – see their statement from a few weeks back here.
I’ve included a few photos from the rally here.
But most of those addressing the people gathered in the stand at the modest Coegmanskloof Stadium were themselves workers from local farms. They talked of many aspects of their conditions and their struggle – bitterly about how little had changed for farmworkers in 18 years of “freedom”, sadly about the conditions and poverty in which they brought up their children, and hopefully about the future. All were determined to press ahead with their demand for a minimum wage of R150 per day.
They know they will need maximum solidarity, and to build their organisation, if they are to achieve something like a living wage. I wish them well in their struggle.