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Thursday, 03 March 2016 15:59

Announcement on national minimum wage soon

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says a significant announcement relating to deliberations on the national minimum wage will be made in the coming months.

The Deputy President said this when fielding oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

He was responding to a question by Economic Freedom Fighters Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu on whether claims by labour representatives at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) that government was delaying the implementation of the National Minimum Wage, were true.

“All social partners have committed themselves to conclude these deliberations without any delay. The national minimum wage negotiations are forging ahead. They have agreed that this process requires careful management and execution. A number of experts are advising the process.

“In the coming months, we will be making significant announcements in this regard. There have been no delays caused by government,” the Deputy President said.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address last month, President Jacob Zuma said deliberations continue to take place on the level at which the minimum wage must be placed.

He said that it was important to emphasise that the national minimum wage should be implemented in a manner that does not undermine employment creation, the thriving of small businesses or sustained economic growth.

The President said government was encouraged by reports from NEDLAC that a framework to stabilise the labour market by reducing the length of strikes and eliminating violence during strike action is being finalised. 

On Wednesday, the Deputy President told Members of Parliament he had not received an indication from any of the NEDLAC constituencies that government was frustrating progress with regards to the national minimum wage.  

He said representatives of labour, business and the community sector have had ample opportunity to raise any concerns they may have.

The Deputy President has, since November last year, convened three meetings of the Committee of Principals. He has also held two rounds of bilateral meetings with each of the constituencies, where concerns were raised and have been addressed.

“As indicated by the President in the State of the Nation Address, deliberations are currently underway between the social partners on the level at which the national minimum wage must be set.

“These deliberations are both complex and crucial. A number of other countries have taken much longer to arrive at a national minimum wage.”

He added that the national minimum wage needs to be set at a level that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of the lowest paid workers, while ensuring that economic growth and job creation can be sustained.

“There is general agreement that the level agreed upon should be based on the best available evidence,”