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CSAAWU Background Info

CSAAWU was formed because of the appalling conditions faced by farm workers and farm dwellers on South African farms. There is extreme exploitation and poverty, no benefits for workers and denigration and abuse of workers. Farm workers constitutional and human rights are continuously undermined, including their right to join a union and organise. Farm workers houses are not fit for human living, they have no toilets, they are forced to drink dirty water, they receive poverty wages, they are injured on the job … each and every day they face violence, pain and abuse yet they are the workers who with their hand make food for everyone to eat.

CSAAWU was launched 6 years ago and its members are located in the southern part of the Western Cape and Cape Metro. Our union mandate is to fight for a living wage, better working conditions for all farm and food sector workers, land for the landless and a better rural life free of want and hunger for all farm dwellers. Since CSAAWU’s inception the union has decided not only to focus on labour matters but also on community issues: thus the launching of the ‘TEEN ARMOED VELDTOG’ (TAV) – Anti-poverty campaign. We have since taken up many struggles to unite the community and workers around common issues confronting them.

CSAAWU Demands to address poverty and assist in restoring human dignity through the following:

1. A minimum wage of R4500 per month for farm workers

2. Property rights: the houses people stay in become their property

3. Families without houses on farms to be provided with houses by farmers

4. Houses to be upgraded as houses on most farms are in terrible condition

5. Transport to be provided to school, hospital and shops

6. In cases where school fees are still paid, to be paid by farmers

7. Compensations to retired farm workers

8. A 13th cheque

9. A good pension fund

10. Crèche facilities

11. Land to be made available to support food security (food gardens)

12. Three months paid maternity leave

13. Five days family responsibility leave

14. Workers must be paid for 45 hours a week if it rains

15. Training and development of farm workers must happen by using the Agri-Seta funds
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Union Policy:

1. No union official to earn more than a skilled worker

2. All union leaders are subject to recall

3. Union structures under the discipline of members

4. Members respect union policy

5. Collective decision making and consultation

6. Mandate of members being carried out

7. No secret meetings with the bosses without the knowledge of workers

8. No changing mandate of members without their knowledge

9. Negotiations are not the responsibility of individuals but the collective responsibility of the entire union leadership

10. A wage conference before wage negotiations

11. Shop Stewards to have a minimum of one meeting a month with members

12. Grievances of members must be brought to management/farmers attention no later than 48 hours after they have been reported to the union

13. Shop Stewards to have monthly meetings with management to address shop floor issues

14. Continued deepening of workers democracy through experience

15. Officials will not be paid overtime as the union is still developing a mass base

16. Fundraising should be done by all CSAAWU members

17. Union income is minimal considering the task facing it.

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