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The National Employer’s Association of South Africa (NEASA) is disappointed with suggestions from Cosatu that all workers should be paid a minimum wage of R 4 500 per month. Speaking at the labour federation’s on-going Collective Bargaining Conference in Boksburg this week, General Secretary Zwelenzima Vavi said that they wanted to move away from percentage based increases to close wage gaps still lingering from the apartheid era.

'A minimum wage of R 4 500 is unrealistic and to create a climate of expectation in this regard is irresponsible. Domestic workers already find it hard to find employment for half that amount,' says Gerhard Papenfus, NEASA CEO.

NEASA would like to know whether Cosatu has really thought this through and whether the labour federation would use its influence in government to have such a figure inferred through legislation.

‘Does Cosatu not realise that wages aren’t determined by legislation but by the employer’s willingness and ability to pay a particular wage?’ Papenfus said. 

Vavi has rightly pointed to the fact that unemployment has reached record highs globally but it seems as if Cosatu has lost sight of the fact that the more government intervenes, the more it will fuel unemployment.

‘Millions of workers would be willing to work for far less than even the current statutory prescribed amount if only they could find a job. A minimum wage at the R4500 level will put millions more out of work. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe was right when he accused Cosatu of being unable to adapt to the current labour landscape. Did Mr Mantashe refer to Cosatu’s inability to accept and adapt to economic realities?’,  Papenfus asked.

We note Cosatu’s growing concern that many employers and employees are undermining the collective bargaining processes and the referral to the Marikana events as tragic examples of such behaviour. What Cosatu is not saying is that the Marikana event is a direct result of the exclusion of minorities as well as new and strong roleplayers in the labour environment which are challenging the old elitist and outdated regime.

'South Africa has entered a new phase where employment and national interest will have preference over the unconstitutional protection of the interests of a few', says Papenfus.

For more information:

Sya van der Walt

082 332 9512