An agreement on the National Minimum Wage, signed in February between the government, labour, business
and civil society, will help address wage inequality and labour instability, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Deputy President oversaw the signing of the agreement, along with an accord on measures to strengthen labour stability and collective bargaining.
The social partners also signed a declaration on wage inequality and labour stability,
pledging to combat the country’s extreme wage inequality that contributes to poverty and constrains economic growth and social development.
“Our deliberations in the course of two years show that social dialogue in our country remains necessary, relevant, vibrant
and concentrated on the best interests of all sections of our society,” noted Deputy President Ramaphosa.
The central agreement, which targets a National Minimum Wage of R20 an hour to
be implemented on 1 May next year, was signed by all of the National Economic Development
and Labour Council’s (Nedlac) social partners – with the exception of the Congress of South African Trade Unions,
which will first report back to its central executive committee before signing.
Addressing wage inequality The R20 an hour minimum wage will translate into a monthly salary of R3 500
for those working a 40-hour week, and R3 900 for those working a 45-hour week.
“The National Minimum Wage, which is a floor below which no worker may be paid, will significantly improve the lives of millions of low-paid workers and begin to address the challenge of wage inequality.
“At its introduction next year, South Africa will join several countries around the world that have implemented a National Minimum Wage as an instrument of economic and social development,” said the Deputy President.
The agreement paves the way for the National Minimum Wage Act to be introduced and debated in Parliament, along with any amendments to relevant labour legislation.
Following a process of public consultation, it will be sent to the National Assembly and thereafter to the National Council of Provinces to be voted on.
If implemented at R3 500, the minimum wage will affect up to 6.6 million people or 47 percent of workers who earn below R3 500, the Deputy President said.
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