E Cape farmers break labour laws

2012-01-28 19:00

Johannesburg - The department of labour has found over 60 Eastern Cape farms that do not follow labour laws and safety protocols, Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Saturday.

"We had issued out notices of non-compliance with labour laws. We will come back in 21 days and do follow-up inspections," she said in a statement.

"Sector determination is not being fully implemented in the farms. The challenge is that workers do not know their rights and as a department we have made a commitment to come and train them on their rights."

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

Oliphant was speaking at a community meeting in Imbizo following an inspection of farms in the province.

She said the farms did not have provisions for fire evacuations, protective equipment for workers and adequate sanitation.

Oliphant said the department would also focus on securing pension and medical benefit payouts for about 18 500 retired Eastern Cape mineworkers.

"The matter of former mineworkers is being handled by the Unemployment Insurance Fund section of the department and the office of the premier in the province," she said.

"As a department we have assisted some people trying to get their monies and paid several of them."

  • TSR01 - 2012-01-28 19:43

    "Oliphant said the department would also focus on securing pension and medical benefit payouts for about 18 500 retired Eastern Cape mineworkers." Relevance to this article? "Oh, and I'm going for a haircut tomorrow."

  • Graham - 2012-01-28 20:05

    Well said Mildred. South Africa needs to expand farming, but workers' rights are also very important within this context, so anyone paying workers peanuts should be brought to task.

      Peter - 2012-01-29 09:35

      The minimum wage of about R1400 a month is very low, but keep in mind the agricultural sector employs big numbers of workers. The wage needs to be kept low enough to provide employment for the massive ammount of unskilled people in rural areas. There are no other employment opportunities for these people, the only other option is social grants - and that will bankrupt the government and the souls of the people that recieve these grants, look how the dole has destroyed part of the UK population, they are a useless bunch of lazy losers. (The dole society) If the wage becomes too high, farmers will mechanise like first world countries. Anyone paying less than the minimum wage should however be severely dealt with.

      Martinus - 2012-01-29 12:31

      @Peter, the farmers have already started mechanising. In the Swartland, large area of the Boland and even to an extent, as far as I know from personal experience, many of the wheat/corn farms in the Freestate. Farmers live with the constant fear of expropriation, legal action and danger to their lives and livelihood, they trust machines more than any worker. You also have to remember, the minimum wage does not take into account the fact that many of the farmers provide a community, housing, education and food for their workers which costs a lot. But in the long run, machines are cheaper, more efficient and far less hassle than the teaming masses.

  • bernpm - 2012-01-28 20:49

    E Cape teachers break labour laws!! Where are you, Mr Oliphant???????

      Peter - 2012-01-29 09:37

      That does no condone farmers doing the same thing. One of the worst forms of logic is when people use one wrong to defend another.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-01-29 09:42

      Thank you Peter, the sheer arrogance and ignorace of commenters on News24 astounds me..

      bernpm - 2012-01-29 11:19

      @pointblank: observing lack of consistency is now called "arrogance and ignorance". love you, my sweet

      George - 2012-01-29 14:57

      Ask the farm worker if they are happy

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