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February : The Minimum Wage as Announced for Farm Workers causes Confusion

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17 February, 2012

Agri SA Media Release: The Minimum Wage as Announced for Farm Workers causes Confusion

Agri SA has requested the Minister of Labour, Ms Mildrid Oliphant, to refer the minimum wage element of the sectoral determination back to the Commission for Employment Conditions for re-evaluation and to correct an apparent error in the minimum weekly wage that was announced.

"The Minister of Labour on 18 January 2012 announced the latest adjustments to the minimum wage for farm workers for the next year. What causes confusion is that there has been a significant deviation from the formula used in the previous three years as well as the fact that the weekly wage as announced is incorrect according to the Department of Labour," said Agri SA president, Johannes Möller.

"According to the announcement, the lowest quartile of the CPI was used for calculating the minimum monthly wage, plus an additional 1,5 percentage points, which in Agri SA's opinion represents double compensation for food inflation. In the past one percentage point was added for food inflation. The increase is further based on the October 2011 CPI information while in the past it was based on the November information. The result of this is that the monthly minimum wage increased by 9,3% from R1 375.74 to R1 503.90 on 1 March 2012.  The weekly wage should increase from R317.51 to R347.10, and not to R374.10, as published in the Government Gazette.  The Department of Labour was alerted to the error and has undertaken to publish a correction," added Möller.

Möller also pointed out that an employer may deduct a maximum of 10% for food and housing, respectively, if certain conditions are met. Farmers are requested to familiarise themselves with the conditions of the stipulation in the sectoral determination and not be misled by other advice they receive. He also urged farmers to implement these increases and to pay their workers at least at minimum wage level.

Issued by Agri SA, Directorate:  Corporate Liaison

Mr Anton Rabe, Chairman of Agri SA's Labour and Social Matters Policy Committee, (021) 870 2900
Mr Henk Vermeulen, Vice-chairman of Agri SA's Labour and Social Matters Policy Committee, (051) 444 4609
Mrs Elize van der Westhuizen, Human Resources Manager, Agri SA, 082 388 0003

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