Farm job cuts could grow to 200 000

Farm job cuts could grow to 200 000

2013-02-10 14:04

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.

  • henryian73 - 2013-02-10 14:02

    Just like they have destroyed the clothing industry in the WC so Tony is doing it with the farms now. Tony is a sad reflection of the dark and corrupt days we had under Rasool but he will not succeed and truth will be the victor this time. COSATU has done more to destroy jobs than build.

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2013-02-10 14:37

      Yip! The Chinese are chomping at the bit to get hold of our mines. Most of our clothes and shoes come from China. Plus our technology. Bet they cannot wait to bring in ALL their millions of labourers to work our mines and farms too. This Zuma is blinded by the fact China awarded him (a grade 9 graduate) an 'honorary professorship' WHat a damn joke!!!

      TSR01 - 2013-02-10 14:38

      And they want to blame retailers for making markup to cover their overheads of delivery, property rental, staff salaries and marketing material? Good grief, the ANC and Cosatu are stupider than stupid, I think they just jointly won a Darwin Award.

      gestoffle.vaneerdenvark - 2013-02-10 17:27

      I am wondering what all these retrenched workers are going to eat; oh well they just resort to stealing, hijacking, etc. Well done the unions and ANC on the articulate way you handled this situation, careful you dont choke on the crayfish and caviar tonight, foul truckers.

      jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2013-02-11 00:14

      For sure the Chinese are in the area looking to buy cheap farms who are stressed and a few mines up North. The Chinese are flush with investment capital. They will run the mines and farms themselves with their people and do so very efficiently.

      BatRMan959 - 2013-02-11 08:12

      eish.. I hope this doesnt result in people squatting on these farms.. and land grabs... I hop ethe faremers know what they are starting here !!

      clint.skinner - 2013-02-12 07:15

      @bartman, are you cooked? What the farmers are starting here? Who went on strike and demanded this increase? Who awarded it? Can you afford to pay people more than you earn?

  • marie.meyering.33 - 2013-02-10 14:19

    We all know the economy is growing at 4%, 5% at most a year. That means on average, no business sector grows by more than 4%, 5% per year, that is makes more than 5% of what it made last year in income. So agricultural production cannot be increased by 60% a year to keep up with the growth in wages, it cannot be increased by 40%, 30% or even 20% a year. A 61% increase in salaries means that agricultural production has to increase by 61% to pay for that salary increase. These salary increases are unheard of in the entire world. Go and do research on any place in any country in the world, there is no country that can afford a 60% increase in agricultural wages. 200,000 people are going to lose their jobs OR all the farming related businesses will close down if the farmer doesn't create profit to expand his/her businesses.

      marie.meyering.33 - 2013-02-10 14:53

      Here's now an excellent article that compares salary increases across 100 countries: 3% for most of the world, 7% for Asia. Show that article to COSATU.

      alan.jerrold - 2013-02-11 09:29

      marie, as I understand it, our economy is only growing at 2.2 - 2.5%, so that makes your argument even stronger.

  • altusvanzyl - 2013-02-10 14:25

    Lekker! That's what happens when unions intervene in the wrong places. Let the market decide the supply/demand!

      BatRMan959 - 2013-02-11 08:34

      Not so lekker when crime increases as a result of increased unemployment.. These farmers are cutting their throats to spite the government...

      theandystokes - 2013-02-11 23:21

      @BatRMan959 - so how to you expect the farmers to afford a 50%+ increase in staff costs? Suppose they could increase the price of food by 50% but then you will moan that food is too expensive? Not the sharpest tool are you.

  • grace.andtruth.77 - 2013-02-10 14:29

    Tony doesn't care, he gets his fat salary regardless! He says exactly what he knows the masses want to HEAR... Instead of educating them with truthful FACTS (turnover and expenses).

  • evert.meyer.98 - 2013-02-10 14:33

    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." No Tony, Economics 101.

  • Die.Gemaskerde.Kussing - 2013-02-10 14:38

    This is what happens if you toi-toi and make demands without giving thought to the ramifications. For the life of me I can't imagine the nonsense the average farmer has to put up with. It is because of the commercial farmer that South African food is at least fairly affordable and can sustain the ludicrous population growth of the poor South African families. Do these fools not see that the resulting rise in salary will be matched by the escalation in food prices, which would mean that within a few months your increase would basically equate to less than nothing.

      TSR01 - 2013-02-10 14:46

      I would actually want to hear the official public reaction if suddenly all the farm murders and striking farm workers jointly resulted in a massive decline in food availability. All shops suddenly at half or lower stock, no fresh food, everything close to its expirey date, at ludicrous prices becaues there is no stock - so only those with wealth will be able to survive, and lo and behold, its the farm workers / impoverished / "poor" individuals who committed those murders and went on strike, resulting in their own further suffering. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, so its rather unfortunate that those individuals choose to utterly disregard the matter between their two ears.

      Die.Gemaskerde.Kussing - 2013-02-10 15:08

      It is because they are uneducated and poor that makes them the perfect pawns in the bigger scheme of things. The ANC is still fighting a battle that they won over two decades ago. It's all about making everyone focus on elsewhere while those with the real agenda can commit their crimes in broad daylight. We are heading for collapse, and it is beacause of the few working cogs that this machine is still running. Well at least the good thing about being cynical is that there is a chance that we might be wrong.

  • difa.mashwama - 2013-02-10 14:49

    we saw it happening in Zimbabwe now is happening in our country and it will go past .

      imfene.imfene - 2013-02-10 18:06

      Last news I heard from Zim is that they have $231 in the bank... ' will go past'... MAN, you people are beyond THICK!!

  • maluxionn - 2013-02-10 14:59

    Really what do those farmers intent to pay workers?Do they really think R69 is enough for someone to live.Apartheid time is over man damn it!

      Jesus - 2013-02-10 15:07

      You are a retard!!

      Die.Gemaskerde.Kussing - 2013-02-10 15:09

      Jesus has spoken... Hehe

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2013-02-10 15:12

      Maluxionn... If you own a shop that's turns over R5000 a month. Your rent is 1500, elec and water 300, phone 200, stock purchases 1000, transport 300, your salary 500, insurance 200, wages 500, miscellaneous expense like bank changes etc! Ooops ans don't forget SARS!!! And your workers' unions demand you double their salaries. What you gonna do hmmmmm????

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2013-02-10 15:13

      Maluxionn... If you own a shop that's turns over R5000 a month. Your rent is 1500, elec and water 300, phone 200, stock purchases 1000, transport 300, your salary 500, insurance 200, wages 500, miscellaneous expense like bank changes etc! Ooops ans don't forget SARS!!! And your workers' unions demand you double their salaries. What you gonna do hmmmmm???? It has ZILCH to do with apartheid so get over ot already!!!

      Die.Gemaskerde.Kussing - 2013-02-10 15:20

      @Grace, you forgot to mention the couple million worth of damage and vandalism due to striking workers.

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2013-02-10 15:24

      Lol @ gemaskerde!!! I was kinda hoping insurance would pay hahaha

      Ronald - 2013-02-10 15:33

      First get that chip off your shoulder, think of other relevant excuses than apartheid, and educate yourself as to what the facts are. Our farmers compete against farmers in the European Union that get subsidised to the tune of R650 Billion a year, enabling them to charge much lower prices than our own farmers can. Why do you think that the total amount of productive farms has reduced from 120 000 in 1998 to less than 35 000 in 2012? Read the auction pages in the newspapers. Every week there are up to 25 farms going under the hammer just in my local newspaper. 30 Years ago most farmers had a LDV(or a few) and a Mercedes sedan. Now they have a double cab that must do duty as farm vehicle and passenger transport as well as LDV.

      Thilivhali Fitzgerald - 2013-02-10 16:00

      @jesus i wonder if jesus is yo name coz if it is well you are d retard or the person who gave you that name is the retard you are not human the way jesus was

      PointBlank - 2013-02-10 16:04

      This is why unions can milk gullible workers to do their dirty work. They feed off the ignorance and desperation of workers to fool them into believing unions ate looking after them. The truth is they forcing people into unions purely for the unions survival and financial benefit. Marikana was due to unions, now the farmworkers crisis was due to unions, in fact every single labour crisis in this country is due to unions.

      colin.shephard.125 - 2013-02-10 16:40

      eish apartheid yes but economic reality isn't, the fact is that our labout is very expensive and unproductive compared to the rest of the world and therefore our farmers are battling to compete internationally.

      imfene.imfene - 2013-02-10 18:13

      @lindani - Yes, that is the only way you black donkeys and apes know to fix anything - VIOLENCE... no better than animals..

      psalm.proverb.3 - 2013-02-10 18:40

      @ maluxionn, The reality is this: if R105 is not sustainable for farmers and is the minimum necessary for a decent, living wage by farmworkers, then the ANC government and farmworkers must accept that our farming sector has been subsidised by unfair wages and that farmers must mechanise instead. The harsh reality that the ANC and Unions may have to face is that farming, in its bid to pay more reasonable, decent wages, will need to bleed jobs and farmers replaced underpaid workers with machines. Hence, job losses WILL HAPPEN and farmers will put cash that should have gone into labour wages into machinery. Furthermore, it is unreasonable to expect SA consumers to dig even deepr into their strained pockets to pay for food, as food prices are already going to hike WAY UP due to Eskom's RIDICULOUS tarrif increase. Farmers already have to factor electricity price increases into their costs - which will filter down to consumers. Now there's an over 50% wage increase on top of that, e-tolls which will increase food transport, fuel increases - which will ALL filter to consumers. I am not willing to pay exhorbitant prices for food. Sorry, I do not have an unlimited income. I must also balance my budget. If farmers can help stem a bit of this food price increase by mechanising, then I support them fully. Those are the harsh economic realities that the ANC and the Unions choose to ignore.

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2013-02-10 23:41

      That amount come with housing, anemities and food for the workers, bonuses and assitance with schooling there kids and hospital transport. I lived on a farm and saw the extent farmers go to for there workers. Maybe the workers need to spend less money at the shabine and learn to save. Also don't have more kids than you can afford to give an education to, its unfair on the kids. Grow up please!!!!

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2013-02-10 23:43

      @lindani zulu - you are a pathetic coward. I pity you for being such a weakling and a coward.

      markus.fourie.98 - 2013-02-11 07:50

      lindani.zulu. Pathetic excuse of an oxygen breathing thieve you are! Live by the sword and you will die by the sword. Your crime might pay in the short run, but eventually you will be taken out with the same violence you use on innocent victims.

      wo0two0t - 2013-02-11 08:21

      I’m afraid Maluxionn that’s all you guys are worth - there are millions of you guys plus you are pretty much useless. Would you pay a rock R100 a day I think not? Get an education then you can earn R100 a minute/hour easy.

  • facts.peter - 2013-02-10 15:31

    Agh no.... Only 200000,00? Hey Boet Tony, I hope you sleep well tonight. And for the rest of the farm workers, please keep on paying your union fees and put on your dancing shoe's and start striking again. I will bring the tyres for free because I would like to push the job losses up to a Million. You idiots, guess where Tony is sleeping and eating tonight AND what he is driving tomorrow? Wha-ha-ha-ha

  • joe.whiteman.9 - 2013-02-10 15:45

    @maluxionn Well then you employ your brothers and YOU pay them !!! Retarded non thinker A wipe

      Thilivhali Fitzgerald - 2013-02-10 16:10

      joe how about land grab like in zim do u like it watch what you say one day we will come after those farms and you will hide

      colin.shephard.125 - 2013-02-10 16:43

      lindani that is the only language you speak. I'm just wondering after you scared away all the farmers, are you going to go begging for food in zim? oh no wait they scared away all their farmers and are already begging here. Guess you'll have to go to Botswana, but watch out, they hang criminals.

      jaco.vorster2 - 2013-02-10 22:13

      I dont really understand Thil and Lindani, You wish harm on people who are innocent and just trying to make a living, you should move to Zimbabwe were crims like you are accepted as normal.

      wo0two0t - 2013-02-11 10:07

      Lindani - so what you are saying is that if people (white people) don’t want to just give away their things they’ve worked hard for black people should just kill them for it. There is something very wrong inside your head – you need to get help. It’s your own responsibility to survive in life it’s not up to the whitey to fix all your problems. Create your own wealth and stop looking for the easy way out – you are probably one of these retards that think whites just got everything for free – wake up fool.

  • kyle.white.39750 - 2013-02-10 16:00

    Your boys in government decided the minimum wage. Not the farmers. Duhhh

  • kyle.white.39750 - 2013-02-10 16:09

    Jesus is coming.

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2013-02-10 16:17

    Greedy retailers... R15 for a lettuce at Pick 'n much does the farmer get paid...cents. How many lettuce to sell to make up R105 a day for one worker plus all the other overheads...people think farming is easy...takes more than owning land to make it work.

  • kortbroek.duplessis - 2013-02-10 16:24

    Poor farmworkers. Viva R105!

      colin.shephard.125 - 2013-02-10 16:37

      poor farmers, 83 000 already killed or bankrupt now the government is killing the few that's left

  • Antonie - 2013-02-10 16:39

    Lindani. Be careful of what you say. Some of us are busy running out of patience...

      Thilivhali Fitzgerald - 2013-02-10 16:46

      Antonie you knw yo problem is everythin must must done yo way if not u got loud mouths our patience ran out a long time ago just thank this government is protecting u otherwise uwouldnt b sayin this now so watch out too

      jaco.vorster2 - 2013-02-10 22:20

      Thilivhali our constitution protects everyone 'so watch out too '.

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2013-02-10 23:49

      @Jaco- our constitution protects only who the ANC want it to protect otherwise you won't be walking around with a big ass target on your back !!!!

  • ColinShephard - 2013-02-10 16:49

    This is so stupid it hurts my brain. Other countries give farmers subsidies, ours don't, which makes it very difficult for farmers to compete internationally added to the fact that our workers are very unproductive is the cause that farmers can't pay more. Then when they start laying off people the very same people who are the cause for farming being so difficult blames the farmers.

  • Jaco JP Venter - 2013-02-10 16:50

    @lindani.zoeloe and then what are you and your family going to eat?No Farmers no food!How long do think the farmers is going to let people like u threatening them?Have u ever been in a War?Remember in a war there is no winners only losers.

  • danie.smit.587 - 2013-02-10 17:04

    Economics is economics, its cheaper to use mechanical power than over regulated labour. Construction companies use excavators i.s.o people with picks and shovels, why not farmers , where its possible? What , lat I heard Zuma was a grade 4 graduate, little more than children picture books. A honorary Dr from US could score them some points go for it make joke of all your qualifications

  • Asdiedamwalbars - 2013-02-10 17:04

    What did they expected.. ? Nothing came out of rocks..not even blood...they believe Cosatu with secret agendas they denied.. The real world ...they don't really worry about the welfare of the workers, unemployment.. and the poor at the end of the day..

  • lerato.mako.7 - 2013-02-10 17:06

    but the anc is plnnin to create 10 mil jobs, this is not makin any sence to me becase even the mining sector is goin to retreanch,

      Die.Gemaskerde.Kussing - 2013-02-10 19:26

      Thats just ANC false promises again

  • gawie.botha - 2013-02-10 17:26

    Ek hoor nou die dag so in die "wandelgange" dat boere genader was deur Chinese werkers om op die plase te kom werk,vir die helfte van die lone!!!

  • grimble.grumble.98 - 2013-02-10 17:54

    In a way the farmers are indirectly helping the ANC, they are eradicating thousands of NON decent (Tony speak) jobs by retrenching. If the other industries follow through and also retrench we will one day have no need for unions for the remaining few people employed.

  • george.pito - 2013-02-10 19:19

    What is true is that the farmers actually did the workers a favour. Wages for 50 workers can but a machine that can replace 70 of them. Then the Government are selling out to the Chinese and they are prepared to work for less to get the benefits. So thats the monster the ANC and allies are creating.

  • nicky.tyrrell - 2013-02-10 19:33

    Well the truth of the matter is that we have close friends who farm and I know that most of them cannot afford these increases. Not only do the labourers get a set wage a day, they also take produce home, live rent free in a house on the farm and have running water and a flush toilet and should one of them become ill, the farmer takes them to the towns doctor and WHO PAYS the doctor, not the labourer that's for sure, they do and they pay for the medicine. When one of the staff are stabbed in the middle of the night, who takes them through to the doctor in the middle of the night, The farmers does! That is now all going to end, they are moving them off the farm and they can find their own housing in the closest township! No more potatoes and cabbages and pumpkins are going home with them after work. They will have to walk to the doctor in future from the township and if one of them get stabbed in the middle of the night, they will probably just die. That is the new reality of what is going to happen on farms.

  • terence.wessels - 2013-02-10 19:42

    Lol! Well done cANCer! Another brilliant move. Hahaha. Idiots. Don't complain you voted for this crap.

  • terence.wessels - 2013-02-10 19:45

    Employ poor white non unionised labour. They will work for R70 and be very gateful.

      carol.paterson.923 - 2013-02-10 21:42

      I agree Terence. There are alot of white people who would be only too pleased to have a job and a roof over their heads.If they had to eat mealie meal they would probably be pleased to be getting food.

  • shooshyu.tu - 2013-02-10 20:35

    Another 200,000 foreigners to increase the crime rate, congratulations ToeKnee-jerk Error-in-Reich.

  • deon.vantonder.77 - 2013-02-10 21:11

    Another sector the ANC f@ed up. I like it.

  • liveby.thesword.1 - 2013-02-10 23:37

    Tony Ehrenreich will have alot of blood on his hands soon.......

  • Lira4lineo - 2013-02-10 23:57

    R105 is nothing, our people want R150 and these white farmers are complaining about R105 while their boys are busy drinking klipdrift and driving quad bikes on farms and terrorising our sisters, f*#ked-up whites must be driven to the sea, its they behave or jump, we can't beg them in our land

      ColinShephard - 2013-02-11 00:48

      Grow a brain, who will feed you if there was no whites? Where would you get a pc to type on or electricity to run it? Go should be sent back to the bush because civilization is clearly not meant for you.

      terence.wessels - 2013-02-11 06:50

      Lol. Wow you are obviously a genius. Your bantu education really letting you down racist boy. Lmao.

      wo0two0t - 2013-02-11 10:15

      Sigh poor racist looser who cannot make it by himself - get an education!

  • francoise.labuschagne - 2013-02-11 07:18

    Machines can replace work force, only a select few will be able to maintain the machines... Just a thought to those who choose to break down, when all we'd like to do is build up!

  • sisie.indola - 2013-02-11 07:46

    Zuma is just a figure head (granted one who keeps opening his big mouth to put both feet in) - who is actually controlling the country - the Chinese. And their biggest mouth is Tony Ehrenreich - i wonder if he gets a bonus for every sector he destroys, and what have they promised him.

  • ZION - 2013-02-11 07:50

    They call it cutting off your nose to please your face.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2013-02-11 08:16

    What are the farmers suppose to do if cosatu, the anc and all the bandwagon jumpers are not willing to listen, when they just keep on pushing for destruction? Isn't that your plan after all anc, finding something to pinpoint specifics and keep on messing up everything so that you have a so-called reason for your future plans?

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2013-02-11 08:58

    Now what has Fransman and Ehrenreich up their sleeves to save these people who will lose their employment due to following the instruction of the Union and the ill advised ANC. Will the demand the farmers not retrench and continue farming at a loss. Not likely to happen.

  • Chibuli - 2013-03-02 07:33

    Every retrenched farmworker must be given his final pay, a bag of mielie meal and Tony Ehrenprick's home address!

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