Pay hike for farmworkers

While the latest survey results show that mostly farmworkers are paid well, an increase in their wages from 2014 levels was necessary.

15 November 2017 | Labour

A 25% wage hike agreement for agricultural workers was signed by a number of stakeholders yesterday at the labour ministry, increasing the hourly wage from N$3.70 to N$4.62 for workers who work 45 hour per week.

The labour ministry explained that the wage agreement will be extended to the entire sector through the government gazette and come into effect on 1 November. In October, the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) announced that consensus was reached to raise the minimum wage by 25% from the 2014 rate.

Successful wage negotiations between the Agricultural Employers Association (AEA), Namibian National Farmers Union (NNFU), Namibia Farm Workers Union (NAFWU) and Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) concluded in mid-October, with the 25% increase from the 2014 rate receiving unanimous agreement. The minimum wage agreement for entry-level agricultural employees is also extended to domestic workers on farms, game- and hunting farms, and lodges. The agreement stipulates that employees should be provided with food or rations for themselves and their dependants to a value that does not exceed the equivalent of 35% of the employee's basic wage.

If employees do not provide food or rations, the monthly wage of N$900 must be supplemented with at least N$500 per month, increasing the wage to N$1 400 per month. The rations allowance was increased from N$400 to N$500 per month. Employees must be provided with “such housing, including sanitary and water facilities, as may comply with the reasonable requirements of such employees,” the agreement states.

Where available, electricity must be provided. Employees who live on agricultural land should be permitted to keep “such livestock and to carry on such cultivation on such land as may be necessary for such employee to provide for the reasonable needs of himself or herself and of his or her dependants.”

A 2016 wage survey carried out by the AEA found that on average, the basic monthly remuneration package for permanent employees on commercial farms amounted to N$1 975.12. The survey noted that the total remuneration package of permanent employees on commercial farms in Namibia for 2015/16 amounted to N$3 320.64 per month.

This figure included basic pay, housing, grazing for employee livestock and transport for employees and their dependents.

The survey emphasised that the total package figure does not include other benefits, including annual bonuses, which 94.78% of respondents said they paid each year.





JANA-MARI SMITH

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