by Samantha Young

The climate for inflation could be hit by recent agricultural wage increases

The recent wage increase saga could jeopardise labour relations

Wage increase could impact consumers
Farm workers receive R36 wage increase

The recent wage increase saga could jeopardise labour relations, experts say. This may lead to further reductions in the agriculture sector work force, and create a climate for inflation that would most certainly have an impact on consumers.

A new minimum wage of R105 a day for farmworkers has been announced. An increase of R36 from the current R69 a day. This is expected to take effect from March 1 this year.

The Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) said the increase was the result of "undue pressure and intimidation by seasonal workers", adding that this created "a precedent for future actions in other sectors". This could jeopardise labour relations.

"Secondly, small and emerging farmers certainly cannot afford these wages. Concerns have been voiced in certain industries where these farmers fear they will not be able to pay these wages. They will have no other choice but to reduce their workforce for the sake of financial survival."

With its announcement, government was aiding the creation of a climate for inflation "by approving several increases which will ultimately have a negative effect on consumers".

Higher minimum wages, higher electricity prices, and higher fuel prices were just some examples.

TAU SA president Louis Meintjes, said organised agriculture's "motivated proposal of R80 per day ... was totally ignored".

He also warned that further unrest could occur if farmers were to implement wage increases only at the new minimum wage level.

"Other workers will be most unhappy if their fellow workers received a substantive salary increase which did not apply to those already receiving wages in excess of the minimum wage. With such increases, farmers will have no option but to invest in mechanisation, which will minimise the impact of further increases and labour unrest," Meintjes said.


comments powered by Disqus


This edition

Issue 58