Ramaphosa full of praise for Cosatu

The New Age (Free State) - - POLITICS - BONOLO SELEBANO bono­los@the­newage.co.za

DEPUTY Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa yes­ter­day told a gath­er­ing of Cosatu’s Central Com­mit­tee that the pend­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of the national min­i­mum wage should be marked as a new chap­ter in the trade fed­er­a­tion’s an­nals.

Ramaphosa told del­e­gates at Cosatu’s midterm pol­icy re­view meet­ing in Irene, Pre­to­ria, that al­though the trade fed­er­a­tion’s pro­posal for a R4 500 per month national min­i­mum wage was not ac­cepted at the ne­go­ti­a­tions at the National Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment and Labour Coun­cil ( Ned­lac), Cosatu should mark the im­ple­men­ta­tion of South Africa’s R3 500 per month wage limit be­low which no worker should be paid as a mile­stone.

“De­spite what a num­ber of de­trac­tors may ar­gue, the agree­ment on the national min­i­mum wage was a vic­tory for work­ers in our coun­try.

“It is also a great vic­tory for Cosatu, which has been in the fore­front of this strug­gle, and which was central in achiev­ing this agree­ment.

“It is a land­mark agree­ment un­prece­dented in the his­tory of this coun­try. Once again Cosatu was able to lead the coun­try in an un­prece­dented move to have a national min­i­mum wage,” Ramaphosa said.

This comes as the govern­ment has given it­self a dead­line of 2018 to send the agreed R20 per hour min­i­mum wage through a leg­isla­tive process that will re­sult in its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Ramaphosa took a mo­ment to praise Cosatu lead­ers for their en­dur­ing pa­tience dur­ing the national min­i­mum wage ne­go­ti­a­tions at Ned­lac.

“If truth be told, it was Cosatu that led the ne­go­ti­a­tions on the national min­i­mum wage.

“They knew they car­ried this heavy bur­den on their shoul­ders to come up with a min­i­mum wage that will be mean­ing­ful in the lives of 6 mil­lion work­ers.

“You should not be ashamed to claim this vic­tory. I know you wanted R4 500. You did not get R4 500, we got al­most R4 000. No­body ever gets ev­ery­thing that they want in ne­go­ti­a­tions but you must claim this vic­tory. This vic­tory be­longs to you, it does not be­long to other peo­ple.

“I know other com­rades have doubt. I know you are be­ing rub­bished by peo­ple who say the wage should be R12 500. Lit­tle do they know if it was R12 500, we would have wiped out more than 10 mil­lion jobs in South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa also re­flected on his former days as a National Union of Minework­ers ( NUM) gen­eral sec­re­tary. He said that it was at the NUM that his met­tle as a leader was tested.

“I cut my teeth on pub­lic life is­sues in the trade union. The NUM, I’m a prod­uct of the NUM. The NUM fash­ioned me to be what I am.

“And it was through the NUM and the ex­pe­ri­ence that I gained there that to­day I am the type of per­son that I am.”

PIC­TURE: ANN7

MEET­ING: Del­e­gates at­tend­ing the sec­ond day of Cosatu’s central com­mit­tee meet­ing yes­ter­day.

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