SEASON'S PICKINGS: Workers harvest grapes at a wine farm in Franschhoek near Cape Town. Picture: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - The commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) wants to team up with the crucial agriculture sector, which helped the economy clamber out of technical recession in the second quarter of the year.

It also wants its commissioners to understand and be specialists in the sectors they would be assisting in.

The CCMA, which has partnered with the Department of Labour for office space to deal with the more than 188000 cases it was handling, has embarked on the Director’s National User Forum on Agriculture.

It was spearheaded by CCMA director Cameron Morajane as a way to engage and establish working relations with the agriculture sector and address issues pertaining to collective bargaining and the preservation of jobs.

Balance

Addressing one of the forums in Polokwane on Wednesday, Morajane said: “We can never stop learning, the ‘each one teach one’ formula can never stop. One can never have too much information; when we meet, there is often an information gap. Whenever we have these forums, we need to strike a balance.”

Hermanus Bienas, assistant manager at the Kys Nursery in Vredendal, has been named the winner of the 2017 Western Cape Prestige Agri Worker Awards. Picture: Supplied

Limpopo’s labour department chief inspector Phaswane Tladi said 40 of the 333 agricultural workplaces they had inspected recently were not compliant with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Issues of concern pertained to record-keeping and the contentious minimum wage. The cabinet recently approved a national minimum wage of R20 an hour, which would come into effect on Workers’ Day in May 2018.

Aggrey Mahanjana, secretary-general of African Farmers’ Association of South Africa, which represents black emerging farmers, said they would appreciate a partnership between the back-breaking industry and the CCMA because of the pressure facing the sector. “Currently, there is a strong voice that the industry must participate in the national minimum wage that is being propagated,” he said.

- BUSINESS REPORT