More than half of SA workers paid less than R3,000 per month

South Africa’s third largest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters says it will not back down on its war for a national minimum wage for all workers.

Political parties rejected a notion in parliament on Thursday, to discuss the implementation of a national minimum wage.

The EFF claims that as many as 60% of the country’s workers are paid less than R3,000 per month. It wants a minimum wage to be set at R4,500. The country’s formal sector employment is approaching 9 million people.

A recent report published by Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), found that 60% of low-income households were earning a maximum of R3,200 for seven occupants.

Wage regulation in South Africa takes place through collective bargaining and direct regulation of pay for vulnerable workers via the sectoral determinations.

Currently, the average minimum wage is:

  • A monthly wage of R2,731.74 across all the private-sector bargaining councils; and
  • In the region of R2,362.36 across all the sectoral determinations.

On the 11th of November 2015, the Economic Freedom Fighters tabled a motion for debate and resolution in Parliament.

The motion was as follows:

That the House:

  1. Notes the continuing inequalities and poverty in South Africa 21 years after democracy;
  2. Further notes that apartheid, economic and racial discrimination were based on, among other things, job reservation and the cheap labour of black people in general;
  3. Acknowledges that wages continue to serve as a source of perpetuating the dehumanisation of the majority of black people, including in the professional sectors;
  4. Further acknowledges that South African wages have remained stagnant, with the median low wage increasing by only 2,9 % between 1997 and 2013;
  5. Recognises that more than 60% of South Africa’s workers are paid less than R3,000 per month.

The motion called upon the government to introduce a national minimum wage of R4,500 per month in both the private and public sectors with effect from 1 May 2016.

“The EFF believes that introduction of national minimum wage will stimulate economic activity in South Africa, create jobs, reduce inequalities and deal decisively with poverty.

“With additional amounts in their pockets (increased disposable) income, more workers will be able to participate in the economy and such will lead to increased growth,” the party said.

The EFF recently marched to the Reserve Bank, Chamber of Mines and Johannesburg Stock Exchange and demanded that all companies that fall under these institutions introduce a national minimum wage of R4,500 for all workers per month.

“The EFF expects all companies to comply to our demand or we will shut them down. We will target individual companies and the institutions and demand minimum wage until it is realized,” it said.

“We will also mobilize workers to demand a national minimum wage in all public in institutions, inclusive of government departments, SOEs and Parliament. We will never retreat until victory.”

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More than half of SA workers paid less than R3,000 per month