The wage discrepancy between rural and urban workers is expected to close this year. Labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana announced that the rural minimum wage is expected to increase to R1 090 a month or R5,59 an hour. The current minimum wage is due for review on 1 March. Closing the wage gap means an increase of 4,7% for urban workers and 10,21% for rural workers.
“One has to keep in mind that most farmworkers spend the majority of their income on food and with inflation at the current level one fears for the sustainability of such increases,” said Agri SA’s Kobus Kleynhans. “All we can ask is that the relationships between employer and employee take precedence. We want to ask that the minister keep moderation in mind as it will continue to be a fierce challenge for farmers to make ends meet.” Kleynhans also advised farmers to ensure that staff are well trained as labour is often their greatest expense.
TAU’s safety and security manager Chris van Zyl warned the increases could lead to job losses as farming’s financial sustainability is already under threat. – Cornelia du Plooy
Issue date: 25 January 2008