Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant must act now to stop to the violent strike action that is spreading across rural communities. She must urgently bring together the relevant stakeholders and begin negotiations towards establishing a new minimum wage level for farm workers.
The government must find a way to ensure that farm workers can maintain a decent standard of living while guarding against job losses in the sector.
The current minimum wage of R69.42 per day was determined in February 2012 by the Minister of Labour in consultation with the Employment Conditions Commission. We believe that this process needs to be revisited with a view to being ready to implement recommended changes, once the existing sectoral determination has been in effect for 12 months.
At the same time, we must not pander to those who engage in illegal strike action and intimidation. Cosatu and the ANC are using worker dissatisfaction to further their own political ends even though it was an ANC government - in consultation with Cosatu - that set the minimum wage.
The growing intensity of strikes in this sector highlights the need for a review of the labour situation in the agricultural sector and a solution that works for all stakeholders.
I have today written to the Minister urging her to conduct such a review.
The DA will work to ensure that everybody in our rural communities gets a fair deal.