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SOUTH AFRICA: Ceres fruit growers strike finally over

A strike action that crippled the operations of Ceres Fruit Growers (CFG) in the Western Cape since the beginning of September has come to an end.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) reached an agreement with CFG last night (Oct. 13) after weeks of negotiations as part of the pay dispute.

CFG managing director Francois Malan says he is ‘grateful’ and ‘relieved’.

“We acknowledge the pivotal role played by the CCMA Commissioners and the senior leadership of FAWU in forging this deal,” he says in a statement sent to www.freshfruitportal.com.

“We have a big challenge to get our operations back on track and to get to work.

“Ceres workers are more than R7 million (US$519,474) poorer because of the unprotected strike and this action has also cost CFG and its growers about R10 million (US$742,106).”

During the prolonged industrial action, CFG property has been damaged in an arson attack and other neighboring buildings, which do not belong to CFG, have also been set alight.

Previously, Malan told www.freshfruitportal.com fruit shortages were becoming a ‘pending reality’ as the strike continued into its sixth week.

“We will access the material damage caused to our business in due course, but more importantly, we need to re-establish a good working relationship with our staff.”

CFG said it was not releasing specific information about the agreed pay deal, however, over the last few weeks FAWU had been demanding anything between 8% and 12.5%.

www.freshfruitportal.com

October 14th, 2015

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