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April : Agri SA Media Release regarding 2 labour amendment bills sent to Parliament for debate

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20 April, 2012

Agri SA Media Release regarding 2 labour amendment bills sent to Parliament for debate 

Please refer to the Agri SA media release below on this matter.

Despite pressure from the Minister of Labour for Nedlac to reach agreement on the contents of 4 Labour Bills by the end of last year, this did not occur.  What is highly concerning is that before the Nedlac process was concluded, the Minister by-passed Nedlac and tabled them before Cabinet for approval - which they duly did.  They are now to go to Parliament. 

An initial review of these two Bills to go before Parliament indicates that they are still highly problematic, despite certain concessions having been made concerning the outright ban on labour broking, as demanded by COSATU.  FSA will continue to monitor the progress of the Bills and make the necessary interventions, if given the opportunity to do so.   

Agri SA
Mediaverklaring / Media Release
Privaatsak / Private Bag X 180 Centurion 0046, Tel +27+12 643 3400, Faks/ Fax +27+12 663 3178

Agricultural sector as employer is under pressure

"It is extremely frustrating that Cabinet has approved drastic amendments to labour legislation despite unfinished negotiations conducted within Nedlac in this regard during the past year. While Agri SA, as part of the business community, participated in the process in good faith in order to seek workable solutions to highly complex issues, it appears from the published draft legislation that these inputs had simply been swept off the table due to political considerations," said Agri SA's president, Johannes Möller, in response to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant's announcement on 22 March 2012 that amendments to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act had been approved by Cabinet.

Various elements of the draft legislation create concern and could impact very negatively on agriculture's job-creation potential, said Möller.  These include:

  • The fact that, despite a low level of trade union representation in an industry like the agricultural sector, the minister could recognise a union, which implies that such a union could gain easier access to farms as well as being entitled on membership fees to be deducted from wages;
  • That the minister will be able to determine increases - not only of minimum wages, but also of actual remuneration levels, even if these are higher than minimum wages;
  • That the minister will be able to decide on methods for determining the value of a labour tenant's right to occupy or use part of a farm for the purposes of the Labour Tenants Act.
  • Strict limitations which can be placed on the use of more flexible employment arrangements - the Minister will have the power to prohibit or regulate the use of sub-contracting, labour brokering and outsourcing.

Within BUSA and Nedlac, Agri SA clearly indicated the short, medium and long-term implications of certain proposals relating to the agricultural industry and job creation in general, including more onerous obligations in respect of compliance to legislation being placed on employers. There is consensus within the business community that it is essential to perform an objective impact analysis of the proposed legislation. Unintended consequences should be identified and evaluated before this legislation is subjected to the parliamentary process. 

"It is Agri SA's view that the draft bills, if passed, will undermine the objectives set in the National Development Plan (Vision 2030) with respect to job creation. This Plan has huge expectations regarding the job-creation potential of agriculture, but with the assumption that a favourable policy environment exists. The draft bills unfortunately make no contribution towards creating confidence among farmers with a view to increase employment opportunities," said Mr Johannes Möller. 

Issued by Agri SA, Directorate:  Corporate Liaison

Mr Anton Rabe, Chairperson of Agri SA's Labour Committee, 083 453 3422
Mrs Elize van der Westhuizen, Human Resources Manager, Agri SA, 082 388 0003




Thea Liebenberg

Media Liaison Officer
Cell: +27 (0) 82 388 0008
Tel:  +27 (0) 12 643 3400
Fax: 086 683 2809

Inkwazi Building, Block A, 1249 Embankment Road, Zwartkop X7
Private Bag X180, Centurion, 0046, South Africa • Tel / Phone: +27 (0) 12 643 3400
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