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S.Africa’s farm workers call off pay strike

Workers in South Africa’s fruit-growing picturesque region of Western Cape on Tuesday called off a two week strike for higher wages after clinching a 50 percent hike.

The fruit pickers and packers had gone on strike on January 9 demanding their daily wages be more than doubled.

“The strike has been suspended,” Nosey Pieterse, general secretary of the hardline Bawsi Agricultural Workers Union, told AFP.

Workers had wanted daily wages raise from 69 rand ($8.00) to 150 rands, but they got 105 rand ($12).

“We are getting better wages. This is the first bite of the cherry,” he said.

The two week strike turned violent with workers fighting running battles with police during the violent demonstrations.

Police had responded with rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannon and stun grenades to repel stone-throwing protesting workers on the streets of the farming towns — South Africa’s prime fruit export region.

The main N1 freeway connecting Cape Town and Johannesburg had been closed during the strikes.