Double-edged sword for farm workers

2012-02-06 19:11

Polokwane - The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) in Limpopo has expressed mixed feelings over the new minimum wage for farm workers which takes effect on March 1.

The labour department announced the increments in terms of Sectoral Determination for farm workers.

"We are happy... but food prizes are rapidly increasing, leaving farm workers poor," said Fawu provincial spokesperson Nelson Semenya.

He said the increase should be reviewed before 2014.

He said many families would receive temporary relief with the increase, which has gone from an hourly rate of R7.04 to R7.71; a weekly rate of R317.51 to R374.10 and monthly a minimum wage of R1 375.94 to R1 503.90 for a 45-hour ordinary work week.

Semenya praised the department for ensuring that farm workers knew their rights.

He said the department had also done well to make sure that farmers complied with regulations and that those who could not afford to pay increases applied for exemption.

"“We had joint operations with [the department] on various farms where we also raise awareness about the rights of farm workers," said Semenya.

Labour department spokesperson Page Boikanyo said the department based the wage increase on the advice of the employment conditions commission following a long consultation process and public hearings.

We would like to warn employers who choose to ignore this farm workers' sector determination to do so at their own peril. Our inspection and enforcement teams will be at hand to ensure that the law is implemented to the letter," said Boikanyo.

Sectoral determination deals with the protection of workers in vulnerable sectors or areas of work.

The determination sets minimum working hours, minimum wages, number of leave days and termination rules.

  • Rob - 2012-02-06 19:29

    Absolute minimum should be R2000 / month

      Vaal-Donkie - 2012-02-06 19:45

      I would LOVE to see your calculations.

      Peter - 2012-02-07 08:49

      It would be nice Rob, but this minimum wage is based on trying to keep as many rural people employed as possible. Farmers use highly "unskilled" labour (how's that term!) in large numbers. Push the minimum wage too high, it will have a negative effect on employment due to a conversion to mechanisation of certain function. I don't think you should compare rural employment criteria to the urban situation. In an urban situation I agree with you.

  • Lunga - 2012-02-06 19:41

    Something is very wrong in our society.

      Francois - 2012-02-06 21:15

      Lunga, I could not agree more. I think it is the ANC's inability to provide leadership in the country specifically related to labour law and poor education. The ANC is in a position to really change the look of SA society, but does not want to as, it seems to be too afraid to educate people, since then you cannot buy there votes anymore. The minimum wage in totality should be done away with and labour's costs should be based on supply and demand as is the case for the price of food. What do you think is wrong with it?

      Peter - 2012-02-07 08:59

      Francois, if based purely on supply and demand it will lead to exploitation. At least at R1500 a month people will still value their jobs. A lower wage will backfire on farmers, it will give fuel to those that regard farmers as a burden to reforming past injustices. Farmers need to be seen as valuable fair employers.

  • alansmartSnr - 2012-02-06 20:03

    .. and then they want to know why there is so much unemployment. A friend of mine will, within legal process, get rid of 8 of his 12 workers. Let the unions then look after the excessive workers and more important, their families, which comprise 33 souls.

  • Marc - 2012-02-06 20:32

    Yeah, again gimme gimme gimme! And the farmers must start deducting money for the 20kg bag of mealie-meal, meat, water and transport provided to the workers on a monthly basis.

      George - 2012-02-07 07:18

      All gov wants to do is create employment, and then makes it unafordable to do. Gov and unions have no idea what they are doing or creating

      Peter - 2012-02-07 09:05

      So you're saying its unfair to the farmers. You expect people to work for nothing? You try living on R1500 a month. Be reasonable.

  • Ampie - 2012-02-06 20:58

    Dank almal af en stel WITTES aan, te minste help jy n wit familie met bly plek en kos...... en as da gestry word oor salaris sal dit nie gebeur soos wat met ET gebeur het nie dink BOERE dink!!!!!

      kobie.nel1 - 2012-02-06 23:35

      Ampi, ons voel almal eintlik so, maar ondervinding veroorsaam advertensies soos hierdie.... "....Salaris R X000.00 + produksie kommissie + Vervoer kostes en selfoon toelaag. Geen dronk gatte en loodswaaiers hoef aansoek te doen nie....." Jammer, ek raak net meer en meer terleurgesteld in my mense.

      Peter - 2012-02-07 09:07

      Ampie, ek belowe jou, jy sal nie ordentlike wittes kry teen R1500 per maand. Jy sal vinnig weer oorslaan na swart werkers. Ek belowe jou, miskien het jy 'n "false impression" oor hoe goed wit mense is. Jy sal 'n lelike skok kry.

      Peter - 2012-02-07 09:14

      What you people do not seem to understand is that these are rural people. They are generally good quality people, not well educated or skilled, but good people nonetheless. Your "white" workers will mostly come from broken homes, alcoholics, down and outs. Very few white people of quality will work for such a low wage. You guys are out of touch with reality, you overestimate our race. Thanks for all the thumbs down, but I am correct - like it or not.

      Peter - 2012-02-07 09:15

      kobie, ek dink ek en jy stem oor 'n mate saam?

      kobie.nel1 - 2012-02-07 12:29

      Peter Been ther done that. Nou, wat my die hartseerste maak is dat ons jong mense hierdie land as normaal aanvaar. Hulle het nie die verwysings raamwerk van ons wat weet wat was toe dit nog 'n eerste wêreld land was nie. Verbeel jou, die moord syfer is hoêr as die pad sterfte syfer. OK, ek is nou heel van die punt af, maar ons mense sal hulself moet regruk as hulle wil oorleef. Die swart mense op die platteland is soos jy sê heeltemal 'n ander spesie as die stedeling. Hulle is harde werkers en beleefd. Mens gaan uit jou pad om daai ekstra vir hulle te doen, maar dit is nie altyd moontlik nie.

  • Mhlophe - 2012-02-07 11:33

    First and foremost workers have the right to leave and seek employment elsewhere. Personally I don't believe in minimum wage, it is the minimum legal requirement and not what we should be aiming for.

      Peter - 2012-02-07 19:18

      If you don't have it, it'll end up being a supply and demand thing. At least it ensures a fair wage is paid. An unfair wage will eventually backfire on the farming community, I can assure you. At least now if all the farms are invaded, people are losing something substantial and may side with the farmers - unlike the Zimababwean farmers who had their heads in the ground like ostriche's.

  • somersetmorkel - 2012-06-06 18:05

    Socialism in action... Minimum wage works only for those who have work and are kept in employment. Fewer workers get work because of this.

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