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September : National Minimum Wage - Apparent Omission of Forestry Workers from 90% Dispensation

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6 September, 2017

National Minimum Wage - Apparent Omission of Forestry Workers from 90% Dispensation


I realise that the draft NWM Bill has still not been released for public comment but I am particularly concerned about what is contained in subsections 2 and 3 of the Draft Bill under "SCHEDULE 1: NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE" - refer text highlighted in yellow.

The entire Schedule reads as follows:

SCHEDULE 1: NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE


1
Subject to item 2, the national minimum wage is R20 for each ordinary hour worked.

2
Notwithstanding item 1 -
(a) farm workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R18 per hour from 1 May2018;

(a) domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R15 per hour from 1 May 2018.


3 For the purposes of item 2-

(a) ‘farm worker' means a worker who is employed mainly or wholly in connection with farming activities, and includes a domestic worker employed in a home on a farm and a security guard on a farm or other agricultural premises, excluding a security guard employed in the private security industry;

(b)
‘domestic worker' means a worker who performs domestic work in a private household and who receives, or is entitled to receive, a wage and includes -

(i) a gardener;

(ii) a person employed by a household as a driver of a motor vehicle;

(iii) a person who takes care of children, the aged, the sick, the frail or the disabled;

(iv) domestic workers employed or supplied by employment services.


From the above it would appear that the dispensation of 90% contained in the NWM Draft Bill for "farm workers" (i.e. R18.00 per hour) will not apply to "forestry" workers.  Given that (a) we regard "forestry" as being part of "agriculture" and (b) in recognition of this, DoL has aligned both minimum wages i.t.o. both the Agriculture and Forestry Sectoral Determinations, we would like Agri SA , through BUSA, to negotiate to include forestry workers in the dispensation.  This would result in making changes to the abovementioned  Bill's clauses as follows:

  1. Amending clause 2 (a) to read as follows:

    "farm and forestry workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R18 per hour from 1 May 2018;"
  2. Add new clause 3 (b) to read as follows (this is the definition of forestry workers contained in Sectoral Determination 12: Forestry Sector, South Africa) and renumber subsequent paragraph.


Forestry workers refer to those employed in operations related to the planting, growing, tending and harvesting of trees. Without limiting its meaning, ‘forestry activities' includes:

(a) commercial timber growers;

(b) emergent timber growers;

(c) contractors where the majority of time is spent in relation to forestry contracting activities;

(d) all transportation within the sector not covered by the Road Freight Bargaining Council;

(e) a domestic worker employed in a home on a plantation where forestry activities take place;

(f) a security guard employed to guard a plantation or other premises where forestry activities are conducted, who is not employed in the private security sector.

(3)  The NWM does not apply to:

(a) community forestry employers and employees;

(b) employers where the majority of the time is spent in relation to conservation forestry activities;

(c) any person employed or engaged in forestry activities covered by another sectoral determination or by a bargaining council agreement in terms of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and includes but is not limited to:

(i)transportation covered by the Road Freight Bargaining Council;

(ii) the forest products sector, which includes all primary and secondary timber processing activities including the pulp and paper sector and whose operations are currently covered by bargaining council agreements.


It is, in our view, essential, that forestry workers are included in the dispensation being offered whereby the minimum wage w.e.f. 1 May 2018 would be R18/hr rather than R20/hr. Any assistance that you could provide through your dealings with Nedlac / BUSA, would be greatly appreciated.  Please keep me informed of any developments in this regard.

FSA will make a submission to DoL once the public participation process gets underway.  First prize, however, would be to get forestry workers included in the 90% dispensation contained in the Draft Bill before it goes out for public comment.

Any assistance that you could render in resolving this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Contact:
Roger Godsmark
Operations Director
Forestry South Africa

Tel:+27 33 346 0344
Fax: +27 33 346 0399
Cell: 082 805 7123
E-mail: roger@forestrysouthafrica.co.za

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