South Africa’s agricultural industry is increasing in prominence as a major economic driver for the country. The industry is under the spotlight, however, due to the prevalence of critical workers’ rights issues such as discrimination and wage inequalities.
How are we helping
Supporting a project to organise constructive dialogue to help address these issues.
About the project
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs; its members include major UK supermarkets that have sourcing relationships with the South African agriculture industry. To improve working conditions and secure the future stability of this sector, ETI is working with local partners the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership and the Institute for Development and Labour Law of the University of Cape Town.
Pooling their collective experience, this group will bring together farm workers, civil society organisations, employer organisations and government institutions for the first time, to develop an innovative multi-stakeholder forum to address these issues through constructive dialogue between these different groups.
This project will examine employer-employee negotiating methods, identify appropriate opportunities for fostering dialogue and build capacity within workers’ groups to advocate more effectively for their members. The goal is to develop the trust and frameworks that are needed for effective dialogue between South African farm owners and their workers.
ETI Executive Director, Peter McAllister, said: “A successful agriculture industry is vital for South Africa, and for the supermarkets that buy its produce. I’ve seen first-hand there is a need and interest in constructive dialogue where workers’ issues can be raised and resolved through negotiation. The time is ripe to establish a suitable forum and we are grateful to the Commonwealth Fund for supporting this effort.”
The Foundation is the Commonwealth's agency for civil society. We support people’s participation in democracy and development by providing grants, platforms for civic voices and opportunities for sharing expertise.