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Cosatu to push for speedy review of minimum wage

Cosatu’s Matthew Parks says the long delays in finalising the new minimum wage mean it must be reviewed as soon as possible to offset inflation and higher living costs.

FILE: A South African Federation of Trade Unions member holds a placard describing the new national minimum wage as an insult to workers. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says that it will push for a speedy review of the national minimum wage.

As of 1 January, employers are bound to pay eligible employees R20 an hour, except for domestic workers who must receive R15 an hour, and farm labourers who must get R18 an hour.

Some sectors of organised labour have slammed these amounts as “poverty wages”.

The National Minimum Wage Act provides for a commission to annually review what workers should be paid under the new law.

Cosatu says the commission must be set up soon.

Cosatu’s parliamentary officer Matthew Parks says the long delays in finalising the new minimum wage mean it must be reviewed as soon as possible to offset inflation and higher living costs.

“We’re going to be pushing for the commission to be set up within the next few weeks. There should be above inflation, healthy increase in 2019. The R20 an hour was agreed to two years ago, so it’s been eroded quite a bit by inflation, VAT, fuel and electricity price hikes.”

But the Cape Chamber of Commerce president, Janine Myburgh, says that businesses should rather be encouraged to create jobs to deal with the rising rate of unemployment.

“This is the biggest problem we have in South Africa. A minimum wage will not help us solve this problem. In fact, it will make things worse.”

LISTEN: How will national minimum wage work in practice?

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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