Women’s Labour Rights Programme
The Labour Rights Programme seeks to improve the working and living conditions of women farm workers through empowering them to not only know their rights, but to also act collectively and organise to exercise those rights. The Programme has primarily focused on training, capacity building and awareness-raising of Sikhula Sonke shop stewards and other farm workers on key labour rights issues so that they are enabled to assert their own rights, advise and act on behalf of fellow farm workers and negotiate better working conditions with farmers.
Farm Workers Living Wage Campaign
The minimum wage for agricultural workers for the period 2007-2009 was determined in 2006 and was based on a projected CPIX for 2007 of 4.5%. However, by August 2007, the CPI annual inflation rate in August 2007 was 6.7% and the CPI annual rate for food had increased to 11.1%. This means that, while the nominal value of farm workers’ wages increased, the real value of wages is falling.
It was in this context that WFP initiated a coalition of trade unions and sector organisations around a living wage campaign for farm workers which culminated in a march of farm workers to, and demonstration, at Parliament on 29 September 2007. A memorandum handed to an official from the Department of Labour included demands that the minimum wage be revised o more accurately reflect the real increases in the cost of living for farm workers. Following the march, the Department has indicated a willingness to meet with the coalition organisations.