The Department of Labour recently announced the wages for farm workers will be adjusted with effect from 1 March 2014. The weekly rate will increase from R525 to R558.60, with the monthly salary increasing from R2274.82 to R2420.41.
However, various studies released by COSATU have indicated that even this higher wage rate will still leave farm workers unable to meet their daily basic needs.
Veto of the elections
The low wage conditions in this sector could also mean that farm workers veto the elections. Sikhula Sonke — the farm workers’ union, added that there was little interest or reason for their members to participate in the elections. The union went on to add that their living and working conditions had not improved over the past few years.
“There is a confusion and unhappiness that comes with elections. Farm workers don’t see the need to vote for a party that can’t respect their rights. There is no point in voting for any party when you still suffer after elections.”
What do the farmers have to say?
Many of the typical farmers were unable to cover their operating expenses last year when the wage rate increased from R69 per day and many farmers are still trying to cope with this increase.
With the polarised sides in this industry, we will see how the year evolves and if farm workers will embark on further strikes in the industry.
Until next week…