8 October 2019
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on all employers to comply fully with the requirements of the National Minimum Wage Act as the nation and the world mark the 12th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work. The Act, proclaimed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2018 requires that all employers in the formal non-agricultural sector pay their workers a minimum wage of R3 500 a month. The minimum wage for farm and domestic workers has been pegged at 90% and 80% of those in the formal non-agriculture respectively.
Complying with the requirements of the national minimum wage will transform the precarious work of an estimated 6.4 million people in South Africa who earn below this amount into decent work and is also in line with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)’s World Day for Decent Work 2019’s Theme of Investing in Care economy for Gender Equality, aimed at helping to overcome gender discrimination at work and promoting meaningful participation in the economy by women and other marginalised groups in society. FEDUSA is an affiliate of ITUC for the Africa region.
Research by ITUC shows that although care work is central in freeing up millions of people to do their day jobs by looking after small children and the elderly, and is performed by women in more than 80 % of the cases studied, it is generally low paid work, is physically and emotionally demanding, carried out in conditions of insecurity, inadequate training, poor career prospects and in some cases, in conditions of near slavery. According to the ITUC website, it is ‘’calling on all government’s everywhere to increase investment in care to generate economic growth and help overcome gender discrimination by supporting women’s participation in the economy”.
South Africa’s decent work country programme agenda is also not being helped by the private sector’s failure to honour their Jobs Summit commitments of halting retrenchments in order to turn around the unemployment crisis which has seen nearly 30% of the workforce out of a job according to the latest report from Statistics South Africa.