Minimum wage implementation a tough balancing act - Labour Dept

Research suggests that a R4,000 minimum salary could stimulate economic growth.

Farmworkers process rooibos in the Cederberg region. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Deputy Labour Minister Patekile Holomisa said if the country were to introduce a national minimum wage, it would be a tough balancing act.

The issue arose during a labour rights workshop held near Stellenbosch yesterday.

A national wage debate was sparked earlier this week when Wits University research suggested that a R4,000 minimum salary could stimulate economic growth.

About 150 people, mostly unemployed farm workers from Kylemore, listened to Holomisa explain why raising the minimum wage is a balancing act.

"You've to look at the interests of the investors of the company, the shareholders and the financiers."

But Holomisa also calls on farm owners to pay workers a decent wage.

"For these kind of people I think humanity must prevail on the part of the farm owners."

Meanwhile, the National Employers Association has criticised the Wits research, saying job losses would be the automatic result.