Report: South African wine workers abused

• From BBC News

Workers helping to make South Africa's renowned wines are subject to unsafe working conditions and inadequate housing, a report has said.

Human Right Watch says workers on wine and fruit farms face exposure to pesticides and are blocked from forming labor unions.

The reports also says these workers are some of the worst paid in the country despite strict labor laws.

A trade body for wine producers said the report was unfair. But, the head of Wines of South Africa said the study's claims would be investigated.

Most of the abuses apparently happened in the Western Cape Province, home to six of the country's nine wine (grape) growing regions.

"I spoke to a worker who has been living in a pig stall with his family for more than 10 years," HRW's Kaitlin Cordes told the BBC.

The respondents were identified by trade unions and NGOs [non-government organizations] who have a vested interest in producing the very worst examples”

The 96-page report,"Ripe with Abuse," is based on more than 260 interviews with farmworkers, farm owners, civil society members, industry representatives, government officials, lawyers and union officials. It calls on the government to do more to make sure the labor laws are being respected, following previous similar warnings.

[Go here for the complete story.]

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