Farmworkers’ minimum wage increase

The Agricultural Employers Association has reached consensus with other unions that represent farm workers to increase their minimum wage of 2014 by 25 %.

The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) and Namibia Farm Workers Union (NAFWU) held negotiations on the 9th of October on wage increases from N$3,70 to N$4,62 per hour or N$900 per month for a worker who works 45 hours per week. 

For those who do not give free rations, the ration allowance increases from N$400 to N$500 per month.

 The total minimum basic wage for a farm worker’s value is thus now N$1 400 per month.

 To calculate the value of free rations an average price of N$30, 00 per kg meat and N$6, 00 per litre milk is taken.

Other free products are calculated at cost price.

The part of the supply of housing, sanitary- and water facilities as well as electricity (if available) has not changed.

The AEA is of the opinion that unskilled workers on farms are better off than in other industries as farm workers usually get free housing, rations, water and firewood while workers in other industries have to pay a lot for this

The aim of the farm workers minimum wage is a starting wage for young entering workers without any experience into the market.

 The real average basic salary of farm workers on commercial farms was according to the 2016 AEA wage report already N$1 975 per month, inclusive ration value.

This is 41% more than the minimum wage which will now come into force on November 1, 2017.

In 2016 a local daily reported that communal farmers were still defiant with regards to implementing the state-sanctioned minimum wages for farm workers.

Secretary-General of the Namibia Farm Workers Union (NAFWU), Rocco Nguvauva was quoted as saying, “I have received several complaints from farmworkers, especially in communal areas, complaining about the lack of compliance among communal farmers, specifically our lawmakers.”

He threatened to “move from farm to farm, village to village to determine the culprits,” and said, “If caught we will deal with you.”

 In 2014, the unions agreed that farm workers were also supposed to be staying on the farm while the farm owner was required to provide for housing for the worker and his or her kith and kin with water and power included. 

Under the agreement, farm workers were allowed to engage in animal husbandry which entails having to have their livestock as well as tilling the land for their subsistence.

The unions also reached a consensus that, “food and rations provided should not exceed 35% of the employee’s basic wage and such an on-site employee should be provided with an additional allowance of at least N$400 per month.”