At least one person died in last weeks protests

At least one person died in last week's protests

South Africa's Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) has reaffirmed its pledge to a living wage in the wake of violent protests by vineyard workers demanding better pay.

At a special meeting on Friday (16 November), WIETA's board said it condemned all forms of violence associated with the protests that have left at least one person dead in the past week. But it added that the protests “highlight the urgent need to establish a culture of fair and ethical farming that is both socially and economically sustainable”.

Police used rubber bullets and tear gas after farmworkers in the Western Cape demanded a doubling of their wages, the BBC reported. Protesters blocked roads, set fields alight and destroyed equipment.

WIETA also said it is stepping up efforts to increase the number of farms eligible for its ethical certification. The association introduced its ethical stamp earlier this year, aimed at ensuring fair industry working conditions.

WIETA CEO, Linda Lipparoni, said wines with the seal have already entered the market. She added: “We urge other producers to comply with the WIETA code and to earn the right to carry the ethical seal."