Minimum wage must not undermine collective bargaining: Ramaphosa | Fin24
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Minimum wage must not undermine collective bargaining: Ramaphosa

Jun 20 2015 19:15
Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg - South Africa does not want its long tradition of collective bargaining undermined by the introduction of a national minimum wage, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.

"We also have a successful history of minimum wage regulation through sectoral determinations," he said in a speech prepared for delivery at a workshop on international minimum wage experiences in Johannesburg.

"We see no reason to abandon this wage regulating measure."

He said discussion on the issue were taking place in the minimum wage technical task team  and labour stability was being discussed in the labour relations technical task team.

The discussions were overseen by a committee of principles, chaired by Ramaphosa.

"Today is an important step in the process of considering the modalities of a national minimum wage for South Africa.

"Today we have an opportunity to find out about what has happened in other countries where a national minimum wage has been introduced," he said.

There was already agreement on a number of issues.

These included collective agreements, including bargaining council agreements, sectoral determinations and contracts of employment, could not make provision for a wage that was lower than the national minimum wage, but could only vary wages upwards.

The body that would be responsible for determining a national minimum wage would be similar to the Employment Conditions Commission, which currently recommended minimum wages and conditions of employment on a sector basis to the labour minister, said Ramaphosa.

The composition of the Employment Conditions Commission included representatives of organised business and labour and independent experts.

"This composition provides a sound building block for a future body that will determine and periodically review a national minimum wage," he said.

A Nedlac task team would be considering the resource and research capacity requirements of such a body and other aspects of its role and function.

Ramaphosa said there was still quite a lot of detailed work to be done.

"The task team is therefore currently focused on finalising the definition of the national minimum wage.

"It is considering whether the national minimum wage, in its application, will provide for sector-specific or business entity exclusions. It is looking at the appropriate legal and institutional arrangements and how to ensure compliance."

He said the task team would be sensitive to employment effects of the national minimum wage.

"In moving forward, we need to keep an open mind, to learn from other experiences and craft an approach that will be suitable to South Africa's social and economic conditions."

nedlac  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  labour


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