Agri SA has welcomed the passing of the National Minimum Wage Act by Parliament on Monday as a step toward certainty.
However, the agriculture body says it’s advising stakeholders to exercise caution about the effect the minimum wage will have on financially vulnerable farming operations.
It’s warned that many farming operations are already loss-making through a combination of drought conditions and low international commodity prices.
Agri SA says it will focus on ensuring that all its members are aware of their rights and responsibilities in terms of the Act.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it voted against the National Minimum Wage Bill because it has not been subjected to proper public consultations and will push hundreds of thousands of people into unemployment.
It says many provisions contained in the Labour Relations Amendment Bill are a departure from what was agreed at NEDLAC – an objection which many unions made during committee deliberations.
The DA says the voice of organised labour and business have been silenced through what it terms the sideling of NEDLAC. It says the three bills, including the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill do little to improve the labour market in their current form.
“The DA has voted against the National Minimum Wage bill. In reality what we believe in is a minimum wage but not on a universal basis, it should be implemented per sector. In other words, if you look at a particular sector, and see what it can stomach, and what it can use, and that sector itself then becomes the reality – and you don’t loose jobs because they check at what place it can be sustainable,” says DA shadow minister of Labour, Michael Bagraim.
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