10 December 2012

South Africa: Farmworkers' Public Hearings Roll On in Free State and North West

press release

As expected, dozens of employers today (Mon) rejected the farmworkers' demand of a daily increase of R150 and threatened to lay off thousands of employees should the new sectoral determination decree so.

They told the Department of Labour's public hearing in Ottosdal, in the North West, into wages and other conditions of employment that if agreed to, the livelihoods of many employees would be negatively affected due to farmers being unable to afford the increase.

The meeting came after a hectic programme over the weekend that saw officials of the department addressing meetings in Bothaville, Free State and in Witfontein, near Ottosdal.

In those meetings Mogodi Masenya, departmental representative in the advocacy unit, said inputs were being gathered from employers and employees and thereafter taken to the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC) -the body which advises the Minister on wages and conditions of employment - for final decision.

"We therefore urge you to use this opportunity to do all in your power to influence the final outcome of the process," he said.

The minimum wage for the sector currently stands at R69 per day.

Zakes Mokgwatlhe, of the advocacy unit, said inputs in relation to the minimum wages should be raised in relation to the ability of employers to carry on their businesses successfully - creation and retention of employment - cost of living as well as the alleviation of poverty.

The hearings will end on Thursday after sessions in Kwa-Mhlushwa in Mpumalanga, Barkley East in the Eastern Cape and in Bronkhorstpruit in Gauteng.

Issued by: Department of Labour

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