Union expects no less than R100 on farms

2013-02-02 17:00

Johannesburg - The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) expects the new minimum wage for farm workers to be no less than R100 a day, the union said on Saturday.

"As now expected, the new minimum will in all likelihood be R105 a day wages, far below the clarion call of R150 a day but significantly above the ridiculous low levels of R69 a day," Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said in a statement.

Fawu said it maintained that the minimum wage be increased again to R150 at a later stage.

"We call on government, farm owners, retail outlets, exporters and importers to join together with unions and ensure that in the near future the minimum wage of R150 can be paid on all farms," said Masemola.

"As a meaningful step towards obtaining this we call upon [Labour] Minister Mildred Oliphant, in her announcement on Monday to raise the minimum wage by over 50% to no less than R105 per day."

Concern for foreign nationals

Masemola said the union would also focus on further demands for its workers.

Fawu was also calling for the home affairs department to provide a special dispensation document for workers in the Western Cape farms.

"We also want foreign nationals working in the agricultural sector in general to be assisted with documentation and the practice of deporting striking workers to stop."

Workers embarked on strike action last year, demanding the minimum wage be increased to R150 from R69. They were also demanding a cohesive land reform programme be implemented.

The strike was suspended in December but resumed in January.

  • Killbot79 - 2013-02-02 17:02

    Stop killing farmers then they will pay those wages

      Jo - 2013-02-02 17:20

      I think they'll get it. Some workers will benefit, many will lose their jobs, like the mining industry is beginning to find out. Slowly the farms will be forced to mechanize as it becomes cheaper to buy machines than employ humans. It's becoming too risky to employ unskilled or semi-skilled workers in South Africa. Machines don't strike, burnt or loot.

      pieter.calitz - 2013-02-02 18:21

      @Jo. 50% will get it. The rest will get retrenchment notices.

      tersia.louw.12 - 2013-02-02 18:33

      Ivy, please, please TRY at least to make sense. What are you saying?

      nicholas.graan - 2013-02-02 19:15

      More jobs to go. Union leaders and the Minister of labour think they know more about economics and supply and demand than the farmers. I still say there is a political agenda behind this.

      shooshyu.tu - 2013-02-02 19:15

      @ivy is that AintSee speek(sic)?

      philip.harris.967 - 2013-02-03 07:03

      R150 is still peanuts ...I would suggest that if the only way to run a business is to pay slave wages then the business deserves to close.

  • yaya188 - 2013-02-02 17:08

    eish, whilst that is not a large wage, it is a big increase all in one go. I wonder if this includes accommodation etc? Anyway, it will affect the end product, so we will all pay? just saying.

      andres.dewet - 2013-02-02 17:53

      Yes, you will all pay. Labour already makes up approximately 40% of the overheads on farms, thus a 50% increase will have a massive impact on overheads. Compound this with a projected R14 per litre petrol price projected by end-2013 and ESKOM's insane price-hikes, of which farmers are bulk users for irrigation and processing, you'll find the only option will be to hike food prices. A hike in basic essentials will mean many of the poor will suffer and likely, strike and suffer further. The unions have a point that R69 is low, but when unemployment is endemic, they're placing the policy-burden at the door of commercial farmers. A group that has almost NO say in those who create economic policy. The unions seek the short-term solution at the expense of long-term repercussions. The impact will be huge and nobody in South Africa is going to like it.

      ray.priestley.79 - 2013-02-02 18:02

      Yes,annman,plus the outrageous attacks on farmers-I am not a farmer,but feel for you guys.

      dennis.crossman.9 - 2013-02-02 19:27

      I'll bet it won't, then all workers will have to fend for themselves instead of getting handouts on the farm which nobody mentioned

      philip.harris.967 - 2013-02-03 07:05

      Why is it that in SA an employer HAS to include things like accomodation and food ......why not offer a living wage and let market forces take care of the rest? Pay them enough so they can afford their OWN transport and accomodation and food.

  • altusvanzyl - 2013-02-02 17:25

    Okay fair. Just don't expect less than 100 000 job losses ;)

  • DavidBanner - 2013-02-02 17:28

    Didn't the government set the R69/day wage limit in the first place?

      Killbot79 - 2013-02-03 09:41

      And then it backfired on them so they tried to blame someone else again because the ANC cant do any wrong

  • mordikaai.speak - 2013-02-02 17:48

    The Unions and Government were privy if not paramount to the wages and the level at which they were set as usual they have both turned tail and are playing the blame game. They are of the opinion that we are a nation of ignorant, illiterate fools that have no ability to think for ourselves.

      aj.coetzee.9 - 2013-02-06 15:15

      and they are right, sadly

  • christi.roestorff - 2013-02-02 18:09

    Is this gross or net? What about unions, pension , uniform , uif, accommodation etc. the slightest loophole and this is going to happen again!

      tersia.louw.12 - 2013-02-02 18:36

      It's going to happen again, anyway. And again, it will be forgotten that it was the government which set the wage.

      philip.harris.967 - 2013-02-03 07:07

      @christi ....I will let you in on a secret ....this is going to keep on happening until employers pay a living wage.

  • nkumb - 2013-02-02 18:17

    Stop destroying produce and property.

  • jacques.swanepoel.372 - 2013-02-02 18:18

    Unions are running the country not the ANC, goverment should also look at subsidising farmers, Top 20 countries are doing it

      Alan - 2013-02-02 18:58

      Only thing the cANCer knows how to subsidise is their expanding waistlines.

      Killbot79 - 2013-02-03 09:42

      That will never happen as the ANC wants to take those farms back and then destroy them

  • dennis.crossman.9 - 2013-02-02 19:18

    Have they considered the repercussions of this decision. Basically farmers will reduce their labour complement and make use of machines. The end result more unemployed people on the street making trouble. When will the government wake up and learn the pot is only so full. Anything more is not sustainable. Domestic workers suffered the same fate when they insisted basic minimum wage and benefits. I thought we were trying to add jobs to the market, not destroy them.

  • shooshyu.tu - 2013-02-02 19:26

    And if the AintSee national (disgrace) minister fails to make the minimum wage R100 will the rioting (not striking) hooligans again target only the W.Cape farms?

  • bruce.gauld.5 - 2013-02-02 19:29

    The general secretary says they are 'ridiculously low'. I agree R69 per day is to low. However, as the general secretary who believes that the minimum wage is 'ridiculously low' why didn't they do something about it before?? Why did people have to fight and die before you noticed them? You speak as though you care but you never have. You are a LEECH!

  • Cobus Britz - 2013-02-02 19:29

    Pension is only R1200 which is only R57 a day..........

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2013-02-02 21:59

    Who cares what the union wants? I want the union to disband and leave the workers alone. You cause people to loose their employment whilst you line your pockets with membership fees. Why don't you tell the workers how much money you have in your bank account whilst you claim to care about them.

  • mark.a.fysh - 2013-02-02 22:45

    33.3% increase and by year-end 20% or more less labour on farms. And what the hell is this FAWU regurgitation actually saying:? Is this for Seasonal casual labour, or for permanent Farmworkers as well? What part will non-cash benefits play (housing, power etc), or will they be ignored? Finally, How can farmers feel safe enough to continue investing in agriculture, when certain elements regard wages merely as a weapon of war?

  • martin.wohlfarter.5 - 2013-02-02 22:49

    Who's importing grape harvesting machines - apparently they are all sold out?!

  • peter222imnida - 2013-02-03 04:30

    Mechanization; there are no machine stupid enough to form unions who would suck them dry and then take their jobs away. FAWU, honestly, how many farmer jobs have you personally cost the people? What truly is YOUR contribution to unemployment and suffering and crime? You and the little doggie with lots of hair and a wolf's voice called COSATU. Ever asked yourself these questions. Soory guys and galls, you the fat cats getting your pay cheques whilst member are 'willingly sacrificing WITH (Yes, sick!) you and YOU with them.

  • Shane Kelly - 2013-02-03 06:28

    The unions expect no less tha............ EXPECT is a big word to day disband the f#*#ing unions.

  • Jason Lok - 2013-02-03 06:48

    Cmon ppl, the Farmers hav been making tons of money over decades, pay satisfactorily n work together. Honestly would we work for a meager R105 a day, toiling an sweatin an hav a Boss whose like a dirty nappie, rite behind U an full of crap!!

      Shane Kelly - 2013-02-03 07:12

      Jason i would like to know if you own a business

      Killbot79 - 2013-02-03 09:43

      Then the retrenchments start, are you going to sing the same tune?

  • alananthonygreen - 2013-02-03 07:05

    fawu just does not get that wages that are too high will result in massive job losses and mechanisation.

  • alananthonygreen - 2013-02-03 07:05

    i agree. unions are scumbags

  • alananthonygreen - 2013-02-03 07:11

    if i meet a fawu exco member, he is going to get a smack in the head

  • Piet Pieter - 2013-02-03 09:34

    Jason, have you ever been on a farm? Only a few farmers actually make a decent living. Majority farm because that's all they know. Would you want to stay in an industry where you are permanently under fire? Why do you think the Americans have virtually abolished labour intensive farming?

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2013-02-03 11:46

    What claim have the unions have. They only represent 6% of workers, but they demand. I will chase them from my property.

  • mordikaai.speak - 2013-02-03 13:56

    Half of population no 90% do not have a clue farmers are not the ones making the money the steps after them to retail are

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2013-02-03 20:25

    Just learned on Carte Blanche on 3 February 2013 that Minister Tina Joemat Peterson's office has spent R10m of our tax money on feeding the Farm workers who partook in the strikes in De Doorns. This proves beyond a doubt that the strike action was funded by the ruling party. Nosey Pieterse has squandered all the money that he got from KWV that was intended to uplift workers in the wine producing areas, and can not give any acceptable account of where the money has gone. Strikes and violence are often used to disguise theft and other dishonest activities. When you don't want people to see what you have stolen, start a riot. Any person that had any doubts, should know now that the unions have not got their members interests at heart, but their own financial well being. It is time to break the backs of these unions! Get rid of their members and cut off their funding! Report them to

  • rowan.maulson - 2013-02-03 22:49

    Say goodbye to many farms at R105 per day per worker... or at least say good bye to lots of the jobs as the farmers mechanise.

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