SA: Statement by Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour, on farmworkers' sectoral determination (14/11/2012)

14th November 2012

The Minister of Labour, Mrs Mildred Oliphant has taken a decision to look at a possible review of the sectoral determination as it currently applies to farmworkers.

To that effect, she will be publishing by next week Friday or earlier a notice indicating the intention to call on all interested parties to comment on the possibility to review the sectoral determination.

At the moment, the determination stands at the minimum of R70 a day.

The minister will, at the same time publish the notice to cancel the existing sectoral determination. To help advise the minister in this process, the Employment Condition Commission will also be meeting next week Wednesday to further discuss the possible intervention in the farming sector.

The Commission is set up under the auspices of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and is made up of representatives from Business, Labour and experts appointed by the Minister. The chief function of the commission is to advise the minister on any sectoral determination that the minister publishes. In the farming sector, the last advise was received and published in February this year and it was applicable from March 1, 2012.

“The sectoral sets out the minimum wages that people need to be paid in that specific sector. This does not mean that if the trading conditions allow it, workers should not be paid more than what is the minimum.

“In the inspections that have been conducted, we have found that some farms paid more than the minimum and I believe that is the right thing to do.

I would also like to call on all the parties that have been involved in the current negotiations in the farms in the Western Cape to intensify their effort to resolve the current impasse. The negotiations and the resolution should be pursued over and above the other efforts like relooking at the sectoral determination – which process may take a while to conclude,” she said.

The officials of the Departments of Labour, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, unions as well as representatives of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration have been involved in efforts to find a solution for the farming sector especially in the Western Cape.