n South African Journal of Labour Relations - The 'bite' of minimum wage : enforcement of and compliance with the sectoral determination for farm workers

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0379-8410
  • E-ISSN: 2520-3223



The research on which this paper is based reveals the complex and differentiated outcomes of a statutory minimum wage. The primary objective of this research was to determine the extent to which the Sectoral Determination for Farm Workers is implemented on selected farms in the Eastern Cape. The experiences of farm workers are largely absent from existing studies of minimum employment conditions in the agricultural sector. Following a brief overview of the provisions in the sectoral determination, this article outlines some of the problems associated with the enforcement of statutory minimum wages, considers the impact of statutory minimum wages on remuneration and labour relations, and tracks changes in wage levels before and after the introduction of the sectoral determination. The most salient findings of the research include the following: First, farmers are complying with the provisions of the sectoral determination on a selective basis.

Second, although wages have increased, a significant portion of the workers interviewed still did not receive the minimum wage.
Third, the sectoral determination has not fundamentally altered the working, living and tenure conditions of farm workers. Finally, farmers seem able to absorb rising wage costs through selective compliance, work intensification, increased deductions and a strategic use of female and casual labour.

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