Mulder to weigh in on possible job losses

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder believes the new minimum wage for farmworkers will lead to job losses.

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder believes the new minimum wage for farmworkers will lead to job losses.

CAPE TOWN - Freedom Front Plus leader and Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder on Tuesday said he will try and raise concerns around job losses in the farming sector at a Cabinet Lekgotla being held in Pretoria.

There are fears jobs will be lost as a result of a hike in the minimum wage for farm labourers.

On Monday, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced that the minimum wage will be increased to R105 a day, up from R69.

The new national wage will come into effect in March.

Over the past few months, thousands of workers in the Western Cape downed tools to demand a daily wage of R150.

Mulder said the wage hike is going to make it difficult for jobs to be retained.

"Everyone is entitled to a minimum wage, but unfortunately for South Africans, it's a choice between a minimum wage on the one hand or no work at all. That's the reality of the South African economy."

Earlier, the Agricultural Business Chamber warned that job losses in the farming sector were inevitable.

The chamber's John Purchase said the new minimum wage is going to place added pressure on farmers, who are already under strain due to increasing electricity prices.

He said this extra strain could lead to job losses.

"We recognise the need for an increase, but increasing it [minimum wages] by over 50 percent is certainly going to have an impact on agriculture."

However, farmworkers have expressed disappointment saying R105 is not enough.