20 November 2012

South Africa: Department of Labour Rolls Out Farm Sector's Public Hearings

press release

In an effort to quell the violent strikes in the farming sector triggered off by the demand for higher wages, the Department of Labour is to kick off a series of public hearings in the next 48 hours in the Western Cape.

The hearings will have an impact on the present sectoral determination for thousands of farm workers.

Titus Mtsweni, Acting Director of labour standards, said the taxing and hectic schedule will see departmental officials proceeding to KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend, with other provinces soon to host similar events.

The public hearings come in the wake of a notice last week Friday published by acting Minister of Labour, Angie Motshekga, of the start of an "investigation into minimum wages and conditions of employment in the farming sector with a view to establish a sectoral determination".

The acting minister has invited 'interested persons to make written representations within 15 days'.

At the same time, the acting minister published her intention to cancel the current sectoral determination which sets monthly wages at R1503.90.

The strikes in areas like De Doorns took a violent turn with workers demanding an increase of R150 a day. The farm workers said they had suspended the strike until December 4 to allow government "to implement their demands".

Mtsweni said once the hearings have been concluded, the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC), which advises the minister on wages and other conditions of employment, will compile a document and make recommendations.

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