• Dangerous games

    Employers' body Neasa is playing a potentially dangerous game, says Terry Bell.

  • Rational thinking

    All players should first consider the net result of their actions, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Telkom's property poser

    BEE may be hindering Telkom's plans to offload redundant real estate, says Gugu Lourie.

Data provided by iNet BFA
Loading...
See More

Farm job cuts could grow to 200 000

Feb 10 2013 14:04
Robertson farm protest

Farmworkers in the Western Cape's De Doorns area went on strike last year, demanding for R150 a day. (Picture: Johan Cloete, News24 User)

Related Articles

Small farmers will battle - employer body

Cosatu: Farm job cuts are spiteful

Farm minimum wage a double-edged sword

New farm wage sets precedent - union

Farmworkers to get R105/day

Job cuts 'only the beginning' - farm union

 
Cape Town - The retrenchment of 2 000 workers by farmers in the wake of the new minimum daily wage of R105 could be the tip of the iceberg, reported West Cape News, according to City Press.

The new mininum wage for farmworkers, following violent protests in the Western Cape, has sparked fears that the sector could shed up to half of its workforce.

Analysts warn the sector will undergo a wave of job losses in the long run that could reach 200 000 as the wage bill almost doubles.

“The latest sectoral determination has just accelerated a long-term trend,” said SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) deputy chief executive Frans Cronje.

Cronje believes a further 20% to 30% of people would lose their jobs by year-end.

“The 2 000 job losses reported this week are just the beginning of a figure to grow to 100 000, perhaps 200 000, over the long term.”

Agri Western Cape CEO Karl Opperman said up to 50% of the agricultural workforce could be out of work in five years’ time if a solution is not found.

Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies director Andries du Toit said neither the farmworkers nor the farmers were to blame for the current dilemma.

“The core of the problem is in the power relations between retailers and farmers.”

He added that farmers are under great pressure by retailers buying export produce. For every British pound, 20 pence went to the producer and 40 pence to the retailer, Du Toit said.

A survey by the SAIRR revealed on Thursday that in 2001, 969 000 people were employed in the agricultural sector, but this had declined to 638 000 by 2012.

On Friday, Congress of SA Trade Unions Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said: "The dismissal threats are nothing more than an effort to spite workers and the government... this is an act of hostility by the farmers."

Ehrenreich called on farmers struggling to pay the new minimum wages to apply for an exemption, as the law prescribes.

Responding to the new wage, Agri SA said the increase would have "drastic implications" in the sector.

"This is especially true for labour-intensive sub-sectors where individual farmers will now have to make tough decisions on adjustments to ensure their sustainability," said Agri SA president Johannes Möller at the time.

Business Unity SA on Friday urged that a balance be found in creating sustainable jobs.

"Busa remains committed to constructive discussions that will ensure the sustainability of commercial agriculture, as well as basic proper living and working conditions," it said.

Farmworkers in the Western Cape's De Doorns area went on strike last year, demanding R150 a day.

The new rate, which is R36 more than the current minimum wage of R69 a day, will take effect from March 1.


Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

sairr  |  busa  |  agri sa  |  cosatu  |  farmworker protests  |  wages
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
86 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

A cash flow crunch often occurs in small businesses trying to balance cash coming in with cash going out. Watch this video to help you improve.
 
 

Investment portfolios explained

When it comes to choosing savings and investment products it can seem like an endless universe of options. FutureGuide demystifies.

 
 

Start saving...

Where can you stash your cash?
Time the key for retirement saving
Dummy's guide to saving
Save money with affordable account

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...