R3,500 proposed National Minimum Wage too low - EFF

Fighters say this will institutionalise inequalities at low poverty wages


20 November, 2016

The EFF rejects the announced proposal by Cyril Ramaphosa for a National Minimum Wage of R3,500. This proposal favours business at the expense of workers. The proposal will not lead to the desired resolution of the problem of inequality, instead it is going to institutionalise these inequalities at low poverty wages. The EFF, following proposals by worker organisations like COSATU, had tabled a minimum wage of R4,500 to parliament based on figures from 2014, which is two years ago. Since then (two years later), inflation has increased by more than 6%. This means the initial R4.500 proposal by workers/labour should now be set at about R5, 000. 

Two years ago, business, in response to labour, had offered a counter proposal of R2, 700. This means the now proposed R3, 500 is actually in favour of the initial business proposal since, taken the general rise in prices over the past two years, the amount comes to about R3, 500. This is not shocking at all since it is Ramaphosa at the forefront of this process; and we know he loves money and business than he does the people.

Any minimum wage that is below R4, 500 will not make any difference to the lives of workers or the resolution of inequality in wages and actual living conditions. Above all, wages of South African workers have higher dependency ratio whereby an individual incoems has stretched high and unusual number of dependencies. 

We further reject the idea that workers there must be exceptions for farmworkers and domestic workers. We reitarate that no one, from petrol attendants, security guards, farms and domestic workers, to cashiers in all big retail stores; no one must earn less than R4, 500 per month. The EFF will not support Ramaphosa's proposal and will mobilise all workers to reject it in favour of a much more meaningful National Minimum Wage of no less than R4, 500.

Already in the Marikana commission, it was proven that Lonmin company could, taken its profits, afford to pay workers the demanded minimum wage of R12,500. This too, was four years ago already. The process of minimum wage is long over due and requires a genuine, aggressive and speedy resolution to exert discipline on private capital which has taken advantage of the lives of our people for far too long.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 20 November 2016