Farm worker wages raised

After extensive consultations and consideration of submissions received from employers and employees both in the farming and forestry sectors, the Department of Labour has decided to adjust upwards the minimum wages for farming and forestry sectors.

To calculate minimum wage increases, the Department applied consumer price index (CPI) excluding owner’s equivalent rent which is lower than what the Department used to apply which was CPI for quintile 1 as published by Stats SA for a specific period. As at 1 March 2016, the minimum wage increases are adjusted as follows:

  • Hourly rate of R14.25 (2015/16: R13.37)
  • Weekly of R641.32(2015/16: 601.61)
  • Monthly rate of R2778.83 (2015/16: R2606.78)
  • A daily wage for a farm worker is R128.26 (2015/16: R120.32) who works nine hours per day.

According to Minister Mildred Oliphant, the Department is aware of the challenges faced by the agricultural sector with regard to certain areas affected by drought and how farmers are toiling with some tough decisions on whether or not to retain labour.

Farmers are encouraged in areas that are affected by drought to apply for ministerial variations in terms of section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Section 50 makes provision for the Minister to replace or exclude any basic condition of employment provided for in the Act.

“Wage adjustments are morally right so as to ensure that workers’ earnings keep pace with the rising cost of living while boosting the purchasing power which benefits the economy. The Department will expeditiously assist in processing variation applications. I further encourage farmers to solicit guidance on how to apply for variations from their relevant associations,” said Oliphant.

Author: Intsika

Gwatyu is a former editor of Farming SA and parliamentary reporter for Landbouweekblad (the leading agricultural publication in South Africa). He has more than ten years of media experience, most of which are in the agricultural sector. He completed several local and international media courses, including a media management course from the University of Stellenbosch, 3-year National Diploma in Languages (CPUT) and a fellowship in entrepreneurship on agricultural communication at the Oklahoma State University in 2014. He continues to be involved in agricultural media and communication activities in South Africa and the continent.

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