- President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted the proposed minimum wage is not a living wage, but he defended it as a starting point
- Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has slammed the proposal and said it amounted to a slave’s salary
- Mathunjwa reiterated Amcu’s call for a minimum wage of R12,500 per month
President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the proposed minimum wage of R20 per hour or R3,500 per month as a starting point. Ramaphosa admitted it was not a living wage. This while the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa slammed the minimum wage as slave’s salary.
Mathunjwa reiterated Amcu’s call for a minimum wage of R12,500 per month. He said companies opted for large dividend payments instead of paying their employees a decent living wage.
Mathunjwa said workers at Marikana had demanded R12,500 back in 2012, and now six years after the tragic events of that strike the proposed R3,500 could only be seen as a slap in the face of those who died.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Mathunjwa said R12,500 per month was achievable, he refused to go back to the workers which Amcu represents and endorse R3,500 per month.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa spoke at a Cosatu Worker’s Day event held in Port Elizabeth. Ramaphosa said the minimum wage was a victory which carefully balanced the need to safeguard jobs against the need to increase wages.
Ramaphosa said workers would achieve a historic victory with the introduction of South Africa’s first ever national minimum wage.
"I want you to understand this clearly. This is a victory for all workers in our country, no matter what other people may say. This is also a victory for Cosatu, which was the first to really raise this issue. It was in the Freedom Charter and over the years it remained there. Cosatu said there's an important demand that there shall be a national minimum wage,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa said the struggle for a living minimum wage would continue.
The president explained that during negotiations, it became clear that compromises would have to be made to have the minimum wage introduced, which would allow for a starting point for future negotiations.
Ramaphosa said: "As we negotiated this‚ we knew that this is not a living wage. A living wage is much higher than this R20 an hour‚ but we said we need to form a foundation so that we can keep going up because the challenge we faced was that‚ if we suddenly said workers must earn R15‚000‚ a lot of workers would lose their jobs and a lot of companies would close their doors.”
Ramaphosa also called for equal pay for men and women, he said gender discrimination needed to come to an end and people doing the same job should be paid the same salary regardless of their gender.
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