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April 23, 2014 | Last Updated 8:23 PM
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Labour
Feb 15 2012 2:35PM
 
Mixed feelings over farm workers’ minimum wage
New minimum wage for farm workers receives mixed feelings from unions. Picture: Gallo Image
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The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) 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 prices are rapidly increasing, leaving farm workers poor,” said Fawu provincial spokesperson Nelson Semenya.

He said many families would, however, receive temporary relief with the increase. Wages will go up from an hourly rate of R7.04 to R7.71, a weekly rate of R317.51 to R374.10 and a monthly minimum wage of R1375.94 to R1503.90 for a 45-hour ordinary work week.

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

Labour Department spokesperson Page Boikanyo said the wage increase was based 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 the farm workers’ sector that they 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. – AENS

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