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Farmworkers’ wage increase looms

Economy

The new minimum wage for farmworkers has to be implemented from Friday, the labour department said.

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130108. Farmworkers walking back home after a days work on a farm in De Doorns. Farmworkers are planning to go ahead with the planned strike. Workers are demanding R150 per day, currently the minimum wage is R69 per day. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Farmers had until then to apply to be exempted from increasing their workers' wages, department spokesman Page Boikanyo said on Tuesday.

Farmers that wanted exemption had to submit a number of documents, including written proof that the affected workers consented to the move.

“In addition, the concerned establishment will have to provide reasons for not being able to comply with prescribed conditions, furnish a list of employees with their current wages... and a project plan, amongst others.”

After a series of violent protests by Western Cape farmworkers, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant conducted national public hearings and decided to increase wages of farmworkers.

On February 4 Oliphant announced the new minimum wage would be R105 a day, up from R69. Wages had to be increased by inflation plus 1.5 percent in subsequent years. - Sapa

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