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Farmworkers' minimum wage upped to R105 a day

Sapa

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has announced a new minimum wage for farmworkers of R105.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant (Gallo)

The new rate, R36 more than the current minimum wage of R69 a day, will take effect from March 1.

"The new minimum wage ... is R105 per day for employees who work nine hours a day, or R11.66 per hour, R525 weekly, or R2274.82 per month," Oliphant told reporters in Pretoria.

This 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%."

The labour minister's announcement followed countrywide public hearings on a new minimum wage for the agriculture sector, prompted by violent protests across parts of the Western Cape.

Fawu calls for R150 per day
Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) general secretary Katishi Masemola said on Saturday that it maintains that the minimum wage be increased again to R150 at a later stage.

Masemola said the union would also focus on further demands for its workers and called for the home affairs department to provide a special dispensation document for workers in the Western Cape farms.

Workers embarked on strike action last year, demanding the minimum wage be increased to R150 from R69. They were also demanding a cohesive land reform programme be implemented. The strike was suspended in December but resumed in January.

In November, a man was killed during protests outside Wolsely in the Western Cape. In January, Western Cape police fired rubber bullets at workers in De Doorns protesting for better wages.

De Doorns was the epicentre of violent clashes between protesters and police.On January 10, police used a water cannon, fired rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse thousands of strikers who pelted them with stones.

A truck was hijacked and set alight on January 12. – Additional reporting by Sapa

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