The South African government yesterday set a minimum daily wage of R105 (about US$12) for farmworkers following a devastating strike in the Western Cape Province. The new minimum
wage was announced by Labor Minister Mildred Oliphant at a Press briefing in Pretoria.
From March 1 this year, farmworkers who work nine hours a day should be paid R105 per day, the minister said.
The current daily minimum wage for farmworkers is R69.
The new sectoral determination would be promulgated for a three-year period, "and during year two and three, wages will be increased by CPI . . . plus 1.5 percent", Oliphant said. Thousands of farmworkers in the Western Cape Province downed tools in August last year and also in January to press their demand for a higher pay.
They asked for 150 rand (about 18 dollars) per day, a demand rejected by Agri SA, an association of farmers.
The strike, which brought agriculture in the province to a standstill, was suspended in mid-January pending negotiations between farmworkers and farmers.
The new minimum wage was based on an agreement between farmworkers and individual farmers who accepted the 105-rand benchmark.