Ramaphosa signed R20/hr wage agreement - Fedusa | Fin24
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Ramaphosa signed R20/hr wage agreement - Fedusa

Feb 08 2017 07:56
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the R20 per hour minimum wage agreement between labour, business and government on Tuesday.

That is according to Dennis George, general secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa declined to confirm the signing late last night. “Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will provide details on the status of discussions of (National Economic Development and Labour Council) Nedlac committee of principals on labour relations and wage inequality tomorrow (Wednesday),” he told Fin24.

The signing was supposed to have taken place at Tuesday's InvestSA lunch that President Jacob Zuma hosted in Cape Town ahead of his State of the Nation address (Sona) on Thursday.

However, the Presidency announced on Tuesday that it was postponing the signing due to Cosatu’s request to delay the agreement until its central executive committee (CEC) could review the new proposal.

However, George said Cosatu was not able to stop the signing. “Our friends from Cosatu think they can stop the process,” he said. “Cosatu said they were in agreement and that all they want to do is speak to their CEC. They must tell us when they are ready to sign.”

“This agreement kicks in from May 2018,” he said. “After this, we need to draft legislation and that must go through a public consultation process.

“There were concerns around the R20 per hour salary as employers could try reduce hours,” he said. “But we will put in a law that workers cannot be worse off.”

He said Zuma will spell out the details of the agreement in his Sona.

The deal follows Ramaphosa’s proposal of a R3 500 national minimum wage. He has been heading up the negotiations with Nedlac.


In the context of South Africa's 27% unemployment rate and rising cost of living, do you think the wage agreement is fair? If not, what do you suggest and why? Let us know and you could be published.


He explained that the panel considered the low level of growth in the South African economy, but also looked at South Africa’s peers, such as Brazil, Turkey and Mexico and how a minimum wage has affected them.

Signing the agreement on Tuesday were (left to right) National Council of Trade Unions President Joseph Maqhekeni, Fedusa president Godfrey Selematsela, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

INFOGRAPHIC: How SA minimum wage stacks up

However, there has been widespread criticism of a minimum wage of R3 500, with political parties and labour unions referring to it as "slave wages" and "poverty wages". They are demanding a "living wage" for workers.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Tuesday the African National Congress failed to implement its policy to radically transform the economy. "It is ridiculous," said spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

“We made it very clear that the minimum wage is not just about having a wage,” he told Fin24. “It’s about having one that makes a difference to South African lives.”

READ: Minimum wage authors reveal key insights that inspired proposal

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said paying workers R20 per hour is an insult.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim also climbed into Ramaphosa, claiming that he has proven to be "hostile" to workers.

"Ramaphosa, the billionaire and ultra-capitalist, values his precious buffalo more than the lives of human beings."

In the context of South Africa's 27% unemployment rate and rising cost of living, do you think the wage agreement is fair? If not, what do you suggest and why? Let us know and you could be published.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

cosatu  |  nedlac  |  numsa  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  sa economy  |  minimum wage


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