New minimum wages for farm and forestry workers

THE new minimum wages for farm and forestry workers came into effect from 1 March. A spokesman for Forestry SA said that unlike in previous years, there had not been a quantum increase in the wages in terms of this next three- year cycle, for which the FSA had lobbied.

The minister appears to have taken into account current conditions in the agricultural and forestry sectors (particularly the drought), and has thus implemented an increase for 2016 based on the CPI (excluding owners’ equivalent rent).

The consequent increase is 6.6%. The new rates for workers working nine hours per day, 45 hours per week: Per month: R2 778.83 (previously R2 606.78) Per week: R641.32 (R601.61) Per day: R128.26 (R120.33) Per hour: R14.25 (R13.37) Increases on 1 March 2017 and 2018 will be based on the CPI figure published six weeks prior to the implementation date (excluding owners’ rent) plus one percent. A spokesperson for Kwanalu commented on the wage increase:

“After a great deal of hard work and commitment by Kwanalu and Agri SA to inform the process which determines the minimum wage we are very pleased to see that the outcome is satisfactory. Kwanalu had participated extensively in the public hearings and provided input on the sectoral determination and minimum wage prior to the announcement.

“Kwanalu is of the view that the participation and representation about the challenges faced by our farmers helped inform the relevant persons that the realities dictate an increase higher than inflation would further cripple the sector. Given the tough times being experienced by farmers and understanding that any increase will be difficult, the new minimum wage announced must be welcomed.”

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