SA farm workers’ minimum wage raised The Herald

SA farm workers’ minimum wage raised The Herald

The South African Department of Labour yesterday released the minimum wage for farm and forestry workers for the period starting March 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019.

The new minimum wages will see a significant increase. Employees in the farm and forestry sectors are set to benefit from a 5,6 percent increase. The minimum wage for farm and forest workers is calculated based on a 9 hour shift.

When considering the updated wages, the monthly wage increased by R168,06 from R3 001,13 to R3 169,19 in the 2017 /2018 year whereas the weekly rate stayed the same.

 Agri Northern Cape

National minimum wage announced AGRI SA

National minimum wage announced AGRI SA

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

The Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the long-anticipated national minimum wage. This comes after two years of negotiations at various levels, said Ramaphosa. According to Neil Hamman, who chairs Agri SA’s Labour Committee, “this brings certainty for agriculture regarding the remuneration levels that will be payable in the next year”. The new national minimum wage, which will take effect on 1 May 2018, is based on an hourly rate of R20. The agricultural sector will initially have to pay 90% of the said wage, i.e. R18 per hour. The 2018 implementation date is now a year earlier than initially announced.

Agriculture will, as from March this year, start paying R15,39 per hour. This is in light of an 8% increase in minimum wage levels for agriculture announced by the Minister of Labour, which has already brought the sector closer to the wage announced today, said Hamman.

“Agri SA places a high value on the labour force in the agricultural sector. This sector is still afflicted by drought in many parts of the country, and various farmers have not yet recovered from the impact thereof. According to Hamman, the sector is also still recovering from the big increase in wage levels introduced in 2013.

“Farmers who are still be unable to afford the increase, can apply for a section 50 variation,” he said. There will be an opportunity to apply for the variation before the national minimum wage comes into effect in 2018. A variation can only be granted for one year, which can serve as temporary relief.

The table below provides further elucidation on the wage structures applicable to agriculture from 2016 to 2020:

Minimum wage period Monthly Weekly Daily Hourly
1 March 2016 to
28 February 2017
R2 778,83 R641,32 R128,26
(applicable to an employee who works
9 hours a day)
1 March 2017 to
8 February 2018
R3 001,13 R692,62 R138,52
(applicable to an employee who works
9 hours a day)
1 May 2018 to
30 April 2019
1 May 2019 to
30 April 2020
Agri SA to consult widely with agricultural sector regarding the proposed National Minimum Wage

Agri SA to consult widely with agricultural sector regarding the proposed National Minimum Wage

“Agri SA considers the labour force in the agricultural sector of critical importance” says Neil Hamman, chairperson of Agri SA’s labour policy committee. He responded in reaction to the Deputy President’s announcement of the quantum of a national minimum wage (NMW) applicable on all sectors of the economy.

“Whilst labour cost is a major cost driver; a contented labour force is equally essential for optimum production in the sector. Compromising the intricate balance between wages and the sustainability of farming enterprises will, however, result in unintended consequences such as job losses and mechanisation.”

AGRI NK - Minimum Wage“Given the vulnerability of the sector, Agri SA is calling for in-depth research and consultation with all agricultural role-players especially farmers in drought-stricken areas, those who face stiff international competition as well as emerging farmers.”

“Agri SA welcomes the fact that struggling farmers still will have access to section 50 of the BCEA that makes provision for exemptions from ministerial determinations. We also welcome that the fact that the expert advisory committee recommended that lower mean apply to domestic and farm workers, depending on the circumstances”, Hamman added.

“The proposed secret ballot before registered unions embark on a strike is also welcomed. Agri SA also seeks active participation in the proposed Decent Work Commission which will be responsible for minimum wages as well as employment conditions and employment equity.”

“Agri SA remains however concerned about the impact on employment and profitability of the agricultural sector and therefore ask that government and the business sector should work together to create a conducive business environment in which businesses and agricultural enterprises, in particular, can flourish. Creating more businesses and ensuring higher productivity and competitiveness should be South Africa’s first priority.”