Unions give Min­i­mum Wage Bill a cau­tious thumbs-up

The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - MANYANE MANYANE [email protected]

THE en­act­ment of the Min­i­mum Wage Bill has been wel­comed by work­ers and trade unions, but some econ­o­mists have ques­tioned the tim­ing.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa an­nounced on Mon­day that mil­lions of South Africans would be el­i­gi­ble to earn a min­i­mum of R20 an hour or R3 500 a month. The bill was signed on Novem­ber 23 last year and came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1.

Cosatu said this would of­fer a solid foun­da­tion for work­ers. “This is part of ad­dress­ing is­sues of eco­nomic growth with re­gard to in­come distri­bu­tion and un­em­ploy­ment. We don’t un­der­stand why it is im­por­tant to have an econ­omy where work­ers pro­duce goods and can’t af­ford them,” said Cosatu spokesper­son Sizwe Pamla.

Fe­dusa said the an­nounce­ment came at a time when work­ers were strug­gling to make ends meet. “We are happy that our peo­ple will never be ex­ploited. At least this will force every em­ployer to pay that re­quired R20 an hour,” said Fe­dusa spokesper­son Den­nis Ge­orge.

“To be hon­est, there’s never been a right time to in­tro­duce this bill be­cause there will al­ways be peo­ple crit­i­cis­ing it, de­spite the cur­rent eco­nomic con­di­tions. We are happy that about 6.2 mil­lion peo­ple will ben­e­fit from this bill.”

How­ever, econ­o­mist Chris Hart was not con­vinced about the tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment, say­ing it was a strat­egy for the ANC to score votes in the May elec­tions. “I don’t have a prob­lem with the min­i­mum wage if we have poli­cies to end poverty. The prob­lem is, we need to cre­ate more jobs at the mo­ment. The un­em­ploy­ment rate is the big­gest is­sue,” said Hart.

Mean­while, the low­est-paid work­ers, such as petrol at­ten­dants and do­mes­tic work­ers, said it pro­vided much-needed re­lief. “At least R20 per hour will make a dif­fer­ence be­cause I was not sur­viv­ing with the money I am earn­ing. I was strug­gling to pay rent and look after my chil­dren,” said a 33-year-old petrol at­ten­dant, who did not want to be named.

Mat­lakala Ta­bile, a 50-year-old do­mes­tic worker, cau­tiously wel­comed the an­nounce­ment. The mother of three said it was dif­fi­cult to make ends meet with the lit­tle she made.

“It’s even hard to buy food. I think this will make a dif­fer­ence,” said Ta­bile.

THO­BILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA)

PAS­TOR Sa­muel, cen­tre, from Prophet Shep­herd Bushiri’s church after talk­ing to fam­ily mem­bers of Non­du­miso Pringai, one of the three peo­ple who died dur­ing the stam­pede at the church in Pre­to­ria. |

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.