Agri SA welcomes exceptions to national minimum wage

Agri SA greeted Sunday’s announcement of a national minimum wage with a call “for in-depth research and consultation with all agricultural role-players‚ especially farmers in drought stricken areas”.

Neil Hamman‚ chairperson of the agricultural industry association‚ said on Monday that “whilst labour cost is a major cost driver‚ a contented labour force is equally essential for optimum production”.

“Compromising the intricate balance between wages and the sustainability of farming enterprises will however result in unintended consequences such as job losses and mechanisation‚” he added.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announced‚ with a panel of advisors‚ the national minimum wage proposal of R3500 per month at the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

Hamman said: “Agri SA welcomes the fact that struggling farmers still will have access to section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that makes provision for exemptions from ministerial determinations.

“We also welcome that the fact that the expert advisory committee recommended that a lower mean apply to domestic and farm workers‚ depending on the circumstances.”

This point has annoyed some critics‚ including the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ which said on Sunday that it rejects “the idea that there must be exceptions for farmworkers and domestic workers”.

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