South Africa: Wage agreement reached at the Sugar Bargaining Council

An across-the-board wage increase of 6.5 percent effective from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 covering some 5,000 employees was agreed on 4 July under the Sugar Bargaining Council negotiations. Back payments will be effective not later than 22 July. The Council parties are three unions and six major sugar employers in the Sugar Milling and Refining Employers Association (SMEREA).

While negotiations were limited to wages, the parties agreed to a “terms of reference” regarding outstanding issues: a reduction of the working hours without income loss, housing arrangements, fixed term contracts (FTC) and transportation. The terms of reference call for a first meeting to be facilitated by a senior CCMA commissioner not later than 30 July, to be followed by negotiations within a 180-day period. If talks reach a deadlock after this period, any party would be able to call for conciliation. Agreements on the issues will be effective from to 2017 to 2020, contingent on the actual agreement. (With information from FAWU national sugar organiser.) 

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