Farm and Forestry Sector Wage Hearings in August

Department of Labour

The department of labour has issued the dates on which the first Farm and Forestry Sectors public hearings will be held.

The first hearings on the roadshow will start on 4 August in Zeerust, Northwest and Meyerton, Gauteng. The roadshow will end in Bethlehem, Free State on 11 September.

The reason why these two sectors are grouped together is because most employers who conduct forestry activities are also carrying out farming activities which results in mixed farming.

The aim of these hearings is to review the sectors’ minimum wages and conditions of employment prescribed in the Sectoral Determination 13 for the Farm and Forestry Sector.

The minimum wages for Farm/Forestry workers announced by the department in January for the period 1 March 2015 – 29 February 2016 are as follows:

•    R2 606,78 per month;
•    R601,61 per week;
•    R120,32 per day; and
•    R13,37 per hour.

The department issued a notice in the Government Gazette on 24 February 2015 where it invited members of the public and relevant stakeholder to submit written comments on:

•    Setting the new minimum wages for the Farm and Forestry sectors; and
•    Any other working conditions related to the operations within the sectors.

The Sectoral Determination in the forestry sector includes:

•    Commercial timber growers;
•    Emergent timber growers;
•    Contractors where the majority of time is spent in forestry activities;
•    All transportation within the Forestry Sector;
•    A domestic worker employed in a home on a plantation; and
•    A security guard employed to guard a plantation who is not employed by a private security company.

Meanwhile, the department has granted temporary exemptions to the Construction Regulations 3 which deal with applications for construction work permits.

Published in Gazette 39025, the temporary exemptions are granted in terms of section 40 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Temporary exemptions apply to construction work starting after 7 August 2015 and costing over R130 million, construction work starting after 7 February 2017 and costing over R40 million and construction work starting after 7 August 2018 and lasting over a year or costing more than R13 million.

Sabinet Cape Town Office