News & events


16 May 2024

Tshintsha Amakhaya (TA) national indaba debates precarious employment of farmworkers

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Women at the forefront of finding better living and working conditions in rural communities made up most of the participants at the 2024 Tshintsha Amakhaya (TA) National Indaba. These women are active in grassroots civil society organisations (CSOs), community-based organisations, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). At the indaba, after the emerging scholars presented the findings of the 2023 Agrarian Rural Household Economy (ARHE) study, participants initiated frank conversations and reflections on (1) the working conditions of farm workers and (2) the impacts of minimum wage policies introduced after the 2012 strikes.

Indaba participants expressed lively interest in new research findings on the employment conditions of farm workers in the 2023 study of agrarian households that the Climate, Land and Agrofood Systems team presented. How the employment conditions of women changed over the last decade became one of the focal points of indaba deliberations.

Non-permanent employment, the HSRC study highlights, is the norm rather than the exception of farmworker job agreements. Women are the majority of jobseekers subjected to increasingly verbal employment agreements between the farmer and workers hired for seasonal and temporary on-farm work, driving job insecurity and precarious employment. The research findings also show that minimum wage policies hardly improved the working conditions of women farmworkers, which negates the policy’s purpose and initial promise. On average, women also worked longer hours, than their male counterparts. This evidence resonated with the activists at the indaba for whom the enduring violations of farmworker rights remain a serious concern. TA affiliates and their allies in the NGOs and the CSOs spaces welcomed the study findings, and will use them to shape their collective approach towards the improvement of agrarian rural livelihoods.

Watch the interview with Bryan Adams, acting chairperson of Tshintsha Amakhaya:

Please follow the link to find out more about the ARHE project.

While the current study is still underway, you can browse the HSRC’s repository for related outputs.

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