South African fruit growers simultaneously face rising standards imposed within supermarket global value chains, falling market prices internationally, and increasing government legislation. These pressures are leading to falling permanent employment and increasing use of contract labour on fruit farms, tempered by the need to employ skilled workers to meet quality and labour standards. Informal contract employment provides some (male) workers with regular work at relatively good pay, but others (particularly women) work for short periods at low pay. None enjoy work security or employment benefits. The informality of work intensifies their risks and vulnerability to poverty.
Journal of International Development (2004) 16 (1) 81-92 [DOI: 10.1002/jid.1064]