Numsa threatens shutdown over R20/hr wage deal | Fin24
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Numsa threatens shutdown over R20/hr wage deal

Feb 08 2017 14:33
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – The wage agreement of R20 per hour is an “attack on the working class”, according to National Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi.

Hlubi was responding to reports that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the national wage agreement on Tuesday, despite reports that this has been delayed indefinitely due to objections from trade federation Cosatu.

The agreement is to take effect in May 2018.

READ: Ramaphosa signed R20/hr wage agreement – Fedusa

Dennis George, general secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa, confirmed to Fin24 on Wednesday that Ramaphosa indeed signed the agreement on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa is expected to provide details on the National Economic Development and Labour Council's discussions on labour relations and wage inequality on Wednesday afternoon.

According to Numsa, the agreement was reached without consultation. Hlubi said the trade union has not changed its position since issuing a statement on Tuesday in which it indicated that implementing the agreement would be the “final nail in the coffin” for workers.

The national minimum wage is not an instrument that can deal with inequality, poverty and unemployment, said Hlubi. The trade union plans to “mobilise” its 330 000 workers, who rejected the offer outright. This will take the form of shutdowns and marches, she said.

READ: R20 per hour for workers is an insult – Numsa

Fin24 previously reported that the union believed the proposed R3 500 per month “reinforces South Africa as a haven for cheap labour, just as it was under apartheid”.

“The figure of R20 per hour is an insult to those who gave up everything for the struggle,” stated Numsa.

“How does a parent educate, clothe and feed their family on a measly salary of R3 500 per month, when government is also refusing to subsidise tertiary education and public transport?”

READ: R20 per hour minimum wage is ridiculous – Cosatu

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla previously told Fin24 that the proposed minimum wage should be one that makes a difference to South African lives, but “R20 is [a] spectacular failure to transform the labour market.”

In response to news that the agreement has been signed, Pamla said it is disappointing, but that the minimum wage is a work in progress.

“There are a number of areas we need to ensure the minimum wage is adjusted going forward,” he said.

“It would be the worst thing to leave the minimum wage there.”

Pamla explained that a medium-term approach should be taken to account for inflationary costs. Cosatu believes a minimum wage is a “weapon” that can transform the apartheid legacy.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

cosatu  |  numsa  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  labour  |  minimum wage


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