The Congress of South African Trade Unions is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to stop dithering and sign the long awaited and long delayed National Minimum Wage into law. Workers have been very patient in waiting for the long promised NMW. Our members are rapidly losing patience because parliament passed and sent the NMW and related labour bills to the Presidency on 30 August. It is unacceptable that to date the Presidency has not announced when they will be signed and when they will come into effect.
The longer the Presidency delays signing the NMW into law, the less its value is. The R20 per hour was agreed to in February 2017. It is rapidly being eroded by the VAT, fuel, electricity, water and income tax hikes, inflation etc. It is now being overtaken by wage increases negotiated by unions.
The longer the President delays signing these important bills, the more he loses any political credibility with the workers, who are already angry with the retrenchments taking place in the SOE’s. The UIF Amendment Bill was also bungled by government at a time when there are millions of workers who are being retrenched, while at te same time the National Treasury is looking at the so called “UIF surplus “as a piggy bank.
We will never achieve the goal of a Living Wage if we continue to do things at this slumbering pace. The first step in achieving a living wage is to move the many low or underemployed workers out of poverty wages and create a sustainable wage income strategy that meets all the basic needs. These kinds of government delays and overall incompetence are both a tragedy and an outrage.
The National Minimum Wage must urgently be signed into law and there must be no more delays. COSATU will not accept anything less.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)