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Agri-SA: Proposed minimum wage could have positive impact

It was announced on Sunday a panel of advisors has suggested a national minimum wage of R3,500 a month.

Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN – Agri-SA says the new proposed national minimum wage could have a positive impact on the agricultural sector.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday a panel of advisors has suggested a national minimum wage of R3,500 a month.

Agri SA's Elize van der Westhuizen says she doesn't expect the proposed national minimum wage to have major consequences for the agricultural sector.

“If you take into account the annual increments that would have taken place, that would have been more or less the same as what the sector would have been forced to pay.”

But economist Thabi Leoka disagrees, saying farm and domestic workers are likely to be the hardest hit by such an implementation.

The figure will still be debated before a final decision is reached.

RAMAPHOSA TO MEET WITH RATING AGENCIES

Ramaphosa says he will be meeting with the ratings agencies and alerting them to the possible implications of a national minimum wage.

The deputy president says this policy intervention will assist in assuring ratings agencies that the country is working towards a more stable labour environment.

Ramaphosa says the proposed figure still needs to be debated but it cannot be set too high as this could increase the risk of job losses.

He says there has been agreement among the social partners to have workers vote on whether or not they want to go on strike

“And it’s been broadly agreed that there should be balloting before strikes and this has been a phenomenal success.”

But the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa)'s Dennis George says this shows a trust deficit.

“Why would you ask the next person to do a ballot? It’s because you want to more clarify what's really happening.”

The report has proposed a timeline for a national minimum wage to be implemented by July 2019 but Ramaphosa says this is not rigid as the figure must first be debated.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)