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Last updated: 06 October 2016

Ceres Fruit Growers Workers To Stage Second March

6 October 2016

On the same day that COSATU will be staging a national strike, over a thousand striking employees of Ceres Fruit Growers will be staging another march through the town of Ceres on Wednesday, 7 October 2015 to highlight the ongoing month long strike. Protesters will be marching to the Witzenberg municipality for the second time and to the Department of Labour to hand over memorandums of their demands after inadequate responses from previous efforts.

Members of the local community and civil society organisations as well as employees of other companies in the fruit processing industry such as Du Toit Fruit, Wolfpak , De Keur Pakkers, Rhodes Fruit Processing and others is expected to participate to show solidarity by way of secondary strike action. Protesters will assemble at 10 h00 at Bon Chretien Street from where they will make their way through the Main Road to the municipal offices.

While the union has demanded 12,5 % percent initially , workers are of the view that they cannot accept anything less than 9 percent at this stage. After numerous sessions in the past month between the two parties which was facilitated by the CCMA , Ceres Fruit Growest latest offer amounted to 8 percent. Management still refuses to offer anything new in terms of the profit-sharing scheme which see loyal and hard-working employees - of which some have been employed for more than twenty years- take away a once-off amount of R 300 -R 500 per annum. This is simply inadequate and displays the unfairness of so-called profit-sharing schemes in the industry.

FAWU members still stand united in their demands despite the strike entering its fourth week yesterday. With the backing of the local community as well as those from Tulbagh, Prince Alfred Hamlet and Wolseley , the strike continues to take take centre stage in the Ceres Valley. FAWU does not anticipate nor did we have marches in Ceres that destabilised the Western Cape economy as suggested in media reports by Mr. Nicholas Dicey, chairman of Hortgro ( national umbrella body for the deciduous fruit industry). Workers are simply marching to highlight their struggles because it is their constitutional right to do so. Mr. Dicey, in his position, should in fact try to assist parties to find an amicable solution to the strike at CFG instead of uttering biased comments about protest marches.