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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed a national minimum wage agreement of R20 an hour.
Ramaphosa made the announcement at Parliament on Wednesday, where he said that all stakeholders had signed the agreement except Cosatu, because the labour federation will need to report to its central executive committee (CEC) before they sign.
“Cosatu was not present to sign the agreement as they asked to get time to complete an internal process of consultation,” he said.
The parties have agreed that those working 40 hours a week will earn R3500 and those who work 45 hours per week will earn R3900. This will take effect on 1 May 2018.
According to BusinessTech, Ramaphosa acknowledged that the current base is not a “living wage”, though it is a start to uplifting the 6.6 million workers in the country who earn below R3500 a month, while also hopefully mitigating job losses.
Ramphosa said: “The national minimum wage, which is a floor below which no worker may be paid, will significantly improve the lives of millions of low paid workers and begin to address the challenge of wage inequality.”
A National Minimum Wage Commission will be established to recommend annual adjustments to the level of the national minimum wage. It will also be reviewed regularly to take into account the impact of the level of employment, poverty and inequality.
Ramaphosa cautioned that businesses who are unable to afford the national minimum wage must apply for a 12 month exemption.
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