The remuneration packages of farm workers on commercial farms are highlighted in the Wage Survey Report published by the Agricultural Employers’ Association (AEA) this week.
Every second year, the AEA, an affiliate of the Namibia Agricultural Union, conducts a survey to determine the average pay farm workers on commercial farms receive. The newly released Wage Report focuses on the income paid in the financial year 2015/2016.
The biennial AEA Wage Surveys deal with a different group of respondents every second year, as employers participate voluntarily. Of those surveyed in 2016, the average basic monthly remuneration of permanent employees on commercial farms amounted to N$ 1 975.12, whilst the total remuneration package of permanent employees on commercial farms amounted to N$ 3 320.64 on average. This Wage Survey represents data of 3497 employees.
For purposes of this research, a remuneration package is made up of a cash wage, a cash allowance, dry rations, wet rations, other farm produced foods (these all constitute the monetary remuneration or basic salary) as well as housing, livestock and free transport.
It must be noted that the calculated total monthly pay package does not include bonuses, clothing, medicine, school- and hostel fees, pension and social security contributions as well as water and energy (wood/ electricity) costs. These mentioned items are a cost to employers and form part of the employees’ benefits.
All these benefits count in the favour of farm workers. In contrast to employees from other sectors who live in towns or cities, farm workers are fortunate in having nurturing and relatively quiet lifestyles. Their housing and food needs are also largely covered as agreed between the NAU, NNFU and NAFWU in the minimum wage agreement. This agreement makes provision for free housing, a cash wage plus food allowance/free rations or planted crops or livestock-keeping.
Whereas the current minimum wage agreement sets N$3.70 as the basic cash wage per hour for a general farm worker, the Wage Report indicates that on average unskilled farm workers received N$6.90 in 2015/16.
The first survey was done in 1998 and the purpose of the Wage Report is to provide sound and reliable statistical information regarding labour in the commercial agricultural sector, which in turn can be used by decision makers internally and externally.