Labour Minister promises action against farmers
8 May 2021
Labour department inspectors are expected to visit farms in the Western Cape to investigate complaints by workers who are battling to access unemployment funds since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi made the promise to farm workers on Thursday at an indaba hosted by the Women on Farms organisation. The event was attended by more than 150 workers, mostly women, from De Doorns, Wolseley, Ceres, and Stellenbosch.
During the event, farm workers shared their difficulties accessing Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits, especially during “off season” on farms when they are not employed for a period of a few months. Many farm workers have also been struggling to access UIF services because of poor service or closures at labour offices. The Robertson office was affected by the lockdown last year and operations were suspended for months.
Some issues raised by farm workers included poor services at labour centres, trouble accessing UIF during lockdown and the death benefits of their partners, and seasonal workers having issues with claiming their UIF after farmers signed off that they resigned.