Department of Labour targets Garden and Landscaping services sector for extension of minimum wage

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 1, 2014

The Department of Labour announced on Monday that it was targeting South Africa’s Garden and Landscaping services sector for extension of minimum wage as part of a “sustained drive to extent protection of vulnerable workers in South Africa”.

The department said that on Wednesday (September 3) it will start with another process of conducting an investigation into the Garden and Landscaping services sector with a view to extent sectoral determination (SD), which prescribes minimum wages and conditions of employment for this sector.

The Garden and Landscaping services sector includes activities such as digging, raking, mowing, spreading, mixing, watering, trimming hedges, weeding, felling or removing trees or other vegetation or planting under supervision.

“The focus of hearings are to engage both employers and workers on the categories of workers to be covered by the Sectoral Determination, the factors to be taken into consideration when setting minimum wages, determining the mechanism to be utilised for setting minimum wages and annual increases; including the level at which minimum wages should be pegged and any other conditions related to the operation within the sector,” the Department of Labour said in a statement.

The public hearings on Wednesday will be held in the North West at the Klerksdorp Civic Centre and in Gauteng at Pretoria North’s Sport and Recreational Hall.

The national public hearings will end on Friday 17th October 2014 in Emalahleni (Witbank), Mpumalanga and at the department’s Labour Centre in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape - respectively. All public hearings are scheduled to start at 10am.

The Garden and Landscaping services sector currently has no sectoral determination. Currently, most of the employers in sector complies with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

Following the go-ahead by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, a notice was published in the Government Gazette on the 11th April 2014 inviting interested parties to make written representations to the Department.

A written submission has been received from South African Landscaping Institute (SALI). The public hearings will give more stakeholders a say in the process.