Windhoek — Successful wage negotiations between the Agricultural Employers Association (AEA), Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) and Namibia Farm Workers Union (NAFWU) last week resulted in the previous farmworkers' minimum wage of 2014 being increased by 25 percent.
According to the agreement, the minimum cash wage increased from N$3.70 to N$4.62 per hour, or N$900 per month for a worker who works 45 hours per week.
For those farmers who do not supply free rations, the ration allowance increases from N$400 to N$500 per month.
The total minimum basic wage for a farmworker's value is thus now N$1,400 per month.
To calculate the value of free rations, an average price of N$30 per kg meat and N$6 per litre of milk is taken. Other free products are calculated at cost price. The part of the supply of housing, sanitation and water facilities as well as electricity (if available) has not changed.
The AEA is of the opinion that unskilled workers on farms are better off than in other industries as farm workers usually get free housing, rations, water and firewood, whilst workers in other industries have to pay a lot for this.
The aim of the farmworkers minimum wage is a reasonable starting wage for young people entering the market without any experience.
The real average basic salary of farmworkers on commercial farms was - according to the 2016 AEA wage report - N$1,975 per month, inclusive of ration value. This is 41% more than the minimum wage, which will come into force on November 1.