Global markets, employment restructuring and female labourers on Western Cape fruit farms

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 15
  • SDG 10
  • Abstract:

    English: The expansion of the South African deciduous fruit export sector in the context of globalisation in the early 1990s has led to changing patterns of employment on fruit farms. Producers have downsized their permanent on-farm labour forces and begun to employ various categories of flexible off-farm labour, particularly contract labour. This discussion examines the implications of this restructuring of employment for two groups of women working on Western Cape fruit farms — those still working and living on the farms and those who have recently been transformed into off-farm contract labourers. The research findings on which this discussion is based suggest that, while the consequences are contradictory for both groups of women, female contract workers are particularly vulnerable to risk and livelihood deprivation while having very limited access to institutional social protection.