Minimum wage one step closer to reality as NCOP approves new labour bills

The bill was adopted without amendment and will now proceed to the plenary of the NCOP for adoption‚ after which it will be forwarded to President Cyril Ramaphosa for signature and enactment.
The bill was adopted without amendment and will now proceed to the plenary of the NCOP for adoption‚ after which it will be forwarded to President Cyril Ramaphosa for signature and enactment.
Image: A file photo by Brandon Reynolds

A further step was taken on Tuesday towards the implementation of the national minimum wage‚ with the adoption of the enabling legislation by the National Council of Province's select committee on economic and business development.

The bill provides for a national minimum wage of R20‚ with R18 stipulated for agricultural workers and R15 for domestic workers. It also provides for the establishment of a National Minimum Wage Commission‚ which will review the national minimum wage annually.

The bill was adopted without amendment and will now proceed to the plenary of the NCOP for adoption‚ after which it will be forwarded to President Cyril Ramaphosa for signature and enactment.

Also adopted without amendment by the committee were the Labour Relations Amendment Bill‚ which provides for secret strike ballots and rules for picketing‚ and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill‚ which enhances the powers of the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to deal with disputes.

Democratic Alliance NCOP member Vusi Magwebu opposed the general application of the national minimum wage as proposed‚ saying not all economic sectors would be able to afford it. He said it could potentially choke small businesses and overload the CCMA with disputes.

Magwebu warned that the implementation of the measure would lead to further job losses in a climate of chronic unemployment and a struggling economy. He said the DA supports sectoral minimum wages‚ which take into account the particular circumstances of each economic sector.

Economic Freedom Fighters NCOP member Brenda Mathevula opposed the R20 level of the national minimum wage as being too low. She said it would do nothing to reduce unemployment and poverty.

African National Congress committee member Moses Mhlanga supported the national minimum wage‚ saying that a start had to be made somewhere.

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