The focus of true continuous improvement lies in ensuring that corrective actions are effectively implemented over time to address the root cause of an issue. SIZA’s producer support toolkit and programme offer a wide variety of training and guidance material which assist businesses in effectively addressing potential risks. One of the major resources that is provided is the valuable guidance to the law booklets, supported by training, which provides producers with an understanding of legislative frameworks and certain market requirements. This highlights ways to achieve best practices and effectively address the root cause of a non-compliance. A variety of guidelines were issued as part of the SIZA Environmental Standard, as well as updates that were done on the Accommodation in Agriculture, Transport and Health and Safety Guidelines for producers in support of the Social Standard.
In 2023, SIZA launched a new written guideline, along with in-person and online training, on all legislative requirements pertaining to labour requirements related to wage calculations, benefits, terms and conditions, working hours, and more. Similar to other training initiatives and guidelines, this training, since its launch in June 2023, has made a visible impact, as the number of non-compliances in these Principle Codes has decreased by 35,15% when comparing the data from January to December 2023.
Background to Wages in Agriculture in South Africa:
Over the past 14 years, South Africa has witnessed a notable transformation in the agricultural sector, characterised by significant wage increases. These increases have ensured more benefits for agricultural employees with better and more sustainable living conditions in mind. Although a minimum wage principle was tailored since 2009, various Sectoral Determinations promulgated wages for different sectors. Since the adoption of the new National Minimum Wage Act in 2018, a National Minimum Wage was created that served as the floor level below which no employee should be paid. The national minimum wage applies to all workers i.e., any person who works for another person and who receives or is entitled to receive any payment for that work. Although many businesses pay more than the minimum wage in agriculture, this period has seen remarkable progress in the wages earned by agricultural workers, which reflected both the industry’s growth and efforts to ensure fair wages. These year-on-year increases in wages has not only improved the living standards of those involved in the sector but has also contributed to greater economic stability and social development in South Africa.