Trevor Christians, General Secretary of Commercial Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers’ Union says the workers at Robertson Winery had given them a mandate to negotiate a living wage of R8 500.
The workers at Robertson currently get paid between R2 900 and R3 400 monthly, this is according to Christians.
Workers gave us a mandate to negotiate a living wage so that we move away from the apartheid wages of the past and also be in line with ethical standards of Vita that companies and farms should move progressively to a living wage.— Trevor Christians, General Secretary of Commercial Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers’ Union
Christians says Robertsons has rejected their demands on two occasions to have the salary of its workers increased. The Union represents 221 Robertson Winery farm workers.
Jeremy Chennels, Internal Industrial Relations and Labour Law Consultant at Robertson Winery says the reference of slave wage or apartheid is a bit harsh. He says an entry level worker at Roberson is paid R4 672 per month which is above what workers at big supermarkets are paid.
There are some good benefits that Robertson workers are getting from the company but none of those were mentioned in a hour long documentary which led to a call in Denmark to boycott wines originating from Robertson Winery, says Chennels.
The documentary 'Bitter Grapes - Slavery in the Vineyards, produced by Danish filmmaker Tom Heinemann was broadcast in Denmark and Sweden this past week.
Listen to two sites of the story on the Robertson Winery issue: