COSATU statement on the implementation Date for the National Minimum Wage
COSATU is deeply disappointed to learn that Parliament and government will not be ready to implement the long delayed national minimum wage by the 1st of May. The federation has repeatedly raised its concerns that the delays in negotiations at Nedlac and Parliament were putting the 1st of May implementation date at risk and this has now become reality.
We have requested several critical amendments to be made to the national minimum wage bill during the parliamentary public hearings. These amendments are aimed at ensuring there are no loopholes for business to avoid paying workers a national minimum wage, to ensure that farm and domestic workers are fast tracked to a NMW, to ensure that workers receive above inflation increases in the NMW yearly, to protect sectoral determinations and to strengthen penalties for businesses who ignore the law.
COSATU has always felt that insufficient time was given to Parliament to pass these three critical bills (NMW, Basic Conditions of Employment and Labour Relations), in order to take into account COSATU and other progressive submissions and ensure meaningful public participation.
We then requested that Parliament give the processes a few extra weeks to do justice to this process. This will help ensure that our amendments are included in the bills and that the processes are protected from possible court challenges by those who oppose giving workers a national minimum wage.
We are pleased that Parliament heeded COSATU’s call. We are confident that the National Assembly will conclude its work and adopt the bills by 26 April and that the NCOP will complete its part during the month of May. We are confident that the national minimum wage will then come into effect in June. This will be a huge achievement that will see wages rise for the 47% of workers (6 million) who earn less than R20 an hour currently. This represents the foundation that will help us built towards the goal of a living wage.
Statement issued by Matthew Parks, COSATU Parliamentary Officer, 27 March 2018