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Zanthe Fresh workers stand firm in their demands

Publication: SWF
Author: Muzi Mzoyi

Seven dismissed Zanthe Fresh employees have vowed to stay on the farm until all their outstanding funds were paid.

Zanthe Fresh is a fresh produce and herbs farm situated about 50 km northwest of Johannesburg in Gauteng. Jane* has been an employee at the farm since November 2014. She says things were going well until 2019 when the employer started paying only half of their salaries.

At first, they were told that it was just a cash flow problem. “He said I am giving you half your salary because we have a cash flow problem, when I get the money, I will reimburse all your money,” said Jane. But up until now, he has not paid.

Workers approached their union, Simunye Workers Forum - SWF, a newly formed union that represents vulnerable workers. The SWF took up their issue to CCMA and won the case.

The employer currently owes workers about R81000. Instead of reimbursing the workers, a new Farm manager wants them to sign contracts of employment.

“We refused to sign any contract, actually we were fired because we refused to sign a contract, because we already have an existing contract”, said one worker. Now the employer has resorted to intimidation tactics to scare them off the farm, but workers say they are ready for him. They have vowed not to leave the farm until the R81 000 that the employer owes them collectively is paid.