- The ANC has made a decision to force the National Assembly committee on labour to meet during the parliamentary recess to process the National Minimum Wage Bill
- This is despite objections from opposition parties, who are threatening to boycott the meetings planned for April 10 until 12
The National Minimum Wage Bill is designed to improve living conditions of workers, but labour unions are worried about the negative effects it could have
The ANC wants the National Assembly committee on labour to meet during the parliamentary recess to process the National Minimum Wage Bill.
Opposition parties have objected to the proposal, threatening to boycott the meetings planned for the second week of April.
The committee received a briefing from the Department of Labour on Wednesday, on the oral submissions made by labour, employee representatives and interest groups over the past two weeks.
The decision was also made two days after Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said it would not be possible to implement the National Minimum Wage Bill by 1 May as had been envisaged.
Parliament is processing the bill, along with the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, Briefly.co.za learned.
Both the EFF and DA called for enough time to consider the submissions and a response of the Labour Department when they returned from the constituency week on 17 April.
The ANC agreed that more time was needed to discuss the bills and proposed the committee meet on April 10 until 12, but allowed the department to respond to the oral submissions.
ANC’s Lerato Teko called on the committee to sacrifice and give their time to deal with things decisively.
“We are not doing this for ourselves.
"We do it for the people out there,” Teko said.
EFF’s George Moteka warned that there was a rush similar to engagements in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
Moteka expressed his concerns that Parliament was invited to respond on Wednesday.
“The whole thing is premature The rush is still there. It is premature for the department to give a response before ourselves as the committee dealt with them,” he said.
The DA’s Michael Bagraim said he could not understand why they had to come back from their constituency time to Parliament when scheduled to return the following week.
“I don’t know what is the rush. It is almost indecent.”
He warned that the ANC might find the meetings boycotted by other parties, adding a redraft bill still needed to be brought to the committee.
The ANC’s Lemias Mashile said the committee wouldn't have all the time after the recess, because it would be preoccupied by other committee work.
“It is important that we create space if we are seriously honest,” Mashile said.
Moteka added the EFF would not accept any interference to the constituency week.
“Any suggestion that we leave constituency work and come back is rejected,” he said.
His sentiment was echoed by the DA’s Derrick America.
"We are available from April 17.”
Although acting committee chairperson Sharome van Schalkwyk did not initially raise the matter, the ANC nevertheless won the vote after she consulted the “principals in Parliament”.
Do you have a story to share with us? Inbox us on our Facebook page and we could feature your story.
To stay up to date with the latest news, download our news app on Google Play or iTunes today.