Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cape Chamber President says strikes are indicative of deeper issues

We also heard from Fred Jacobs - President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was speaking to us about the ongoing farm strikes in the Western Cape. Mr Jacobs believes the recent farm strike is just one example of why South Africa’s current industrial relations framework is not working because sectoral determination is a department of labour issue and therefore Minister Mildred Oliphant should be there, at the negotiating table, addressing the rationale behind the decision. The current minimum wage in agriculture is set at R7.71 per hour or R70 per 9-hour day fixed by the Minister while in contrast the minimum wage for a worker in the public service is R26.61 per hour. “We can’t just suck a number out of the sky to determine what should be paid. We have to find out what the comparative wages are in the rest of the region. We have to go back to an empirical methodology,” he said. He is also concerned with the continuation of the trend of "ill-discipline and violence" from disgruntled workers and the breakdown of the existing negotiation process yet also acknowledging the right to negotiate for a better living wage and living conditions because the chamber understand that the future depends on the current workers crafting a better life for their kids with access to decent education and prospects. For further information you can contact (021) 402 4300 or visit

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