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February : New minimum wages for farm and forestry workers w.e.f. 1 March 2016

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15 February, 2016

New minimum wages for farm & forestry workers w.e.f. 1 March 2016



Please find attached for your information the relevant Government Gazette as well as the history of minimum wages in the Forestry Sector since the Sectoral Determination was established in 2006.

In short, the following needs to be noted:

1.      The implementation date has been moved from 1st April to 1st March so as to align it with the implementation of the new agricultural minimum wage.

2.      Unlike in previous years, there has not been a quantum increase in the wage in terms of this next three year cycle (this being what FSA lobbied for)

3.      The Minister has seen fit to take into account current conditions in the agricultural and forestry sectors (particularly the drought), and has thus implemented an increase for 2016 based on the CPI (excluding  owners' equivalent rent). 

4.      The consequent increase is 6.6%.

5.      The new rates, w.e.f. 1st March 2016 will thus be the following for workers working 9 hours per day / 45 hours per week:

a.      Per month:      R2 778.83         (R 2 606.78)    

b.      Per week:           R 641.32           (R 601.61)

c.       Per day:              R 128.26           (R 120.33)

d.      Per hour:              R 14.25           (R 13.37)

6.      Increases w.e.f. 1st March 2017 and 2018 will be based on the CPI figure published 6 weeks prior to the implementation date (excluding owners' rent) + 1%.        

FSA welcomes the Minister's announcement in that she has taken cognisance of the circumstances in which the agricultural and forestry sectors are currently operating.

Notwithstanding this, members who feel that they are unable to pay this increase do have the option of applying for an exemption in terms of Section 50.  The necessary forms for this can be found on the following website - www.labour.gov.za/DOL/documents/forms/basic-conditions-of-employment/form-bcea6-application-for-ministerial-determination.

Roger Godsmark
Operations Director
Forestry South Africa

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