strike thumb medium85 85GroundUp reports that the shutting down of the Humansdorp Kooperasie by workers over a wage dispute has impacted local farmers in the Cookhouse area of the Eastern Cape.  

Farmers now have to travel to Paterson (90km from Cookhouse) to buy animal feed at greater expense.  Tools were downed at the co-op three weeks ago when seven out of eight food mixers and forklift drivers complained about wage inequality.  They claimed that only one worker was paid according his grade, while the rest were paid as general workers.  The company pointed out that the workers had signed contracts.  Last Tuesday the mayor of the Blue Crane Local Route Municipality met with the Cookhouse Community Forum and the management of the co-op hoping to resolve the situation.  But the company said all 37 workers had been dismissed and new employees would be hired.  On Thursday, workers shut down the co-op’s fuel station in Golden Valley.  Then on Friday, they burned wood at the entrance of the animal feed facility.  Mayor Bonisile Manxoweni commented:  “I am still persuading the CEO to reinstate the dismissed workers and resolve this issue amicably. But the CEO sent me a letter on 11 February himself. Management and the company’s board have decided to fire all the workers and restart with hiring of the new staff.  But that decision is going to impact negatively on the economy of this place and the workers’ families. The area is very poor and has no job opportunities.”


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