A theoretical framework for the labour relations between the farmer and farm workers during industrial strike actions
The purpose of this study was to analyse the labour relations of the workers in the agricultural sector, with reference to the De Doors area in the Western Cape. Despite the political, social and economic changes to better the lives of the farm workers that have been implemented to rectify the inequalities of the past, the labour conditions on farms stayed unchanged. It is evident that there is a gap in the labour relations in the agricultural sector, due to the 2012/13 strike actions that took place. Qualitative research methodology was employed in the study; it provided the researcher with the opportunity to personally interact with the farm workers. It further allowed the researcher to gain a holistic understanding of the daily lives of the farm workers which would foster a better understanding of their daily struggles. Interviews were used as method of data collection. This methodology also enables the researcher to interpret and describe the actions of participants. Good labour relations play a vital role in any industry or organisation. Farm workers are generally classified as vulnerable and the most exploited group of the South African society. They often work irregular hours throughout the year in various weather settings. Regardless of the physical strain that their jobs entail, farm workers earn a low wage and are often deprived of the basic benefits that an employee should be entitled to. This was the reason the farm workers embarked on a strike in 2012/13. The researcher proposed recommendations to the Agricultural department on how to improve the labour relations on the farms in the De Doorns area by suggesting that more labour inspectors are being employed to oversee that legislation are implemented. Skills Development needs to be become compulsory for all farm workers as farming is becoming more technological. Skills Development unlocks talents and creative energy for the farm workers which have a positive impact on production.