Cosatu accepts national minimum wage proposal



The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has accepted government’s national minimum wage (NMW) proposal of 8% for the current financial year.

The trade union federation said it found the offer “reasonable” as it will ensure that the minimum wage is not repealed by inflation.

Minimum wage

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla has welcomed the new minimum wage proposal.

“This will provide significant relief to more than six million workers earning within the range of the NMW. Workers in the farm, domestic, construction, retail, hospitality, transport, security and cleaning services sectors will benefit the most.”

“It is important to ensure that the NMW is not eroded by inflation because this will plunge many workers deeper into debt, poverty and despair,” Pamla said.

Initial proposal

Pamla added that Cosatu had originally proposed to the NMW Commission a CPI plus 3% increase.

“We are, therefore, content with the final recommendation of CPI plus 2%. The NMW Commission has asked for public comments until 13 January 2023, and we will be making our submission to support the commission’s recommendations and push the commission to finalise its proposals to the Minister of Employment and Labour.”

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Final increase

Pamla said they expect the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, to “move with speed” to announce the final increase and ensure that it comes into effect by 1 March 2023.

“Workers cannot afford any delays. Cosatu is pleased with the progress that has been made with the NMW since it came into effect in 2019. We have raised it from R20, and it will soon pass R26 an hour.”

Employers

Pamla also added that it is critical that the Department of Employment and Labour “cracks down” on businesses and employers who ignore the NMW.

“Equally, we expect unions across the board to work together to expose such employers, and organised business too must play its part. It is unacceptable that about 35% of employers still fail to comply with the national minimum wage. This matter should be treated with seriousness it deserves,” he said.

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