The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on government to speed up the parliamentary process leading up to the enactment of the National Minimum Wage Act to facilitate the implementation of a National Minimum Wage (NMW) of R3 500 a month and to inaugurate structures that will force employers to comply such as the tripartite National Minimum Wage Commission that was agreed upon at NEDLAC.
The Department of Labour had originally planned to announce the implementation of the minimum wage this May Day but was forced to postpone it to later date to allow space for the completion of parliamentary processes necessary for its official introduction in South Africa.
Versions of the NMW previously known as sectoral determinations that are announced by the Minister of Labour every year for farm and domestic workers – currently standing at around R8 an hour – will be increased by more than 10% and collapsed into 90% and 80% respectively of the new national floor of R20 an hour wages. Minimum wages for these vulnerable sectors will be gradually increased to the level of the NMW, itself to be reviewed two years following the date of its introduction in South After and to be adjusted regularly thereafter in line with food and transport inflation for workers.
Organized labour as represented by FEDUSA, COSATU and NACTU had wanted a minimum wage of R26 an hour on the basis of a research it had commissioned on the poverty datum line in South Africa but had to settle for R20 a hour following protracted and difficult negotiations over two years with its social partners of business and government at NEDLAC under then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
FEDUSA is keenly aware that a R3 500 a month minimum wage is less than an ideal living wage but will certainly lift an estimated 4.5 million workers currently earning below that amount out of abject poverty.
As the country grapples with a high unemployment rate of 26.7% according to the narrow definition, and of around 40% when viewed broadly, in an extremely low economic growth environment that has been exacerbated by the sovereign downgrading to junk status or sub-investment grade, FEDUSA is grateful that President Ramaphosa has kept his promise to hold a Jobs Summit that he made at the NEDLAC Labour in January this year to tackle these severe economic difficulties.
Resources gathered at the Presidential Investment Conference – that is expected to raise R1.2 trillion - and scheduled for either August or September later this year, will give resolutions taken at the Jobs Summit, the economic muscles required for their practical implementation.
FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George, alongside the leadership of the Public Servants Association (PSA) – the biggest public sector trade union in South Africa and an affiliate of the union federation – will address its main May Day 2018 rally in Umthatha in the Eastern Cape.
For interviews please contact:
FEDUSA General Secretary
084 805 1529
FEDUSA Media Officer
072 637 8096