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Business: Solidarity Demands Agri-prosperity for Grain Bargaining Work


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The trade union Solidarity yesterday continued the second round of wage negotiations in the Grain Bargaining Council and demanded that the current prosperity in the agricultural industry as well as good profits by cooperatives should also benefit employees in this industry.

Solidarity represents more than 1 400 employees at NWK, Suidwes, NTK, OVK, VKB, MGK, Senwes and GWK.

The trade union yesterday continued to stand by its original demand of a 12% increase for employees at job levels T5 to T11, while the employers’ offer has improved somewhat. NWK, NTK, GWK, Senwes and VKB currently offer a minimum increase of 8% and an average increase of 10%. Senwes is offering 7% and 8%, OVK 7% and 10%, and MGK 6% and 9%.

Meanwhile, Solidarity still maintains that the minimum wage for employees at job level T1 to T4 should be increased to R2 900 per month. However, employers are still not willing to implement this change and are still only offering between R2 420 and R2 500 per month. In addition, the trade union demands that employees at these job levels who will not benefit from an improvement in the minimum wage should receive a wage increase of 15%, while employers are only offering 10%.

According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, the time is now ripe for employees in this sector of the agricultural industry to also share in the success the industry currently experiencing. “In the past various cooperatives did report losses, but these losses are now largely something of the past and cooperatives are posting much better profits than a few years ago.”

“Last year employees in the sector had to be satisfied with less than the then inflation figure and this can simply not continue this year. The current offer is still below consumer inflation and will not result in an improvement in employees’ standard of living. The current economic conditions have a firm stranglehold on employees and an increase above inflation will provide welcome relief,” said Kleynhans.

In the coming week Solidarity will get a mandate from its members regarding the offer. Wage negotiations will continue on Tuesday, 17 February.

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