14 September 2005

PRESS STATEMENT

120 FAWU Members Arrested


Middelburg police have arrested about 120 workers from Kanhym Estates yesterday when they were on their way to “picket” on the premises of their employer. Workers were walking peacefully to the place of picketing about 10kilometres from their local township, extension 24 in Middelburg, when police intercepted them. Police officials informed the union that the workers were disturbing the traffic and did not have permission to march through the main road of Middelburg. Police were unwilling to listen to union officials when they were told that the employer terminated bus services to the striking workers on Friday, 9 September and workers had no alternative but to walk the 10km to their place of employment. There were also no alternative road to the farm where picketing were supposed to take place yesterday. The union suspects that the police have been called in by the employer in order to prevent workers from picketing.

The union has been told that 60 members have been released on bail yesterday as their families were able to pay bail for them. The rest remained behind bars but are to be released as the union arranged to bail them out later today.

The 765 Workers and members of FAWU have been engaged in protected strike action since the 6th of September 2005 as a result of a wage dispute. 500 Workers from Kanhym Estates, 65 from Kiejane Meat and 200 from Grobler Dairies are participating in the strike action. Workers at Kanhym Estates and Grobler Dairies are both demanding a 10% wage increase while the employer has offered 6,5% and 6% respectively. Workers at Kiejane meat demands an increase of R100.00 per fortnight across the board while the owner offers R50.00, which is less than the minimum stipulated for the farm and domestic sectors.

For more information please call the regional secretary, Simon Mabunele at 082 492 5131 or the writer below.

FAWU media officer
Dominique Swartz
082 498 5631