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Last updated: 04 May 2019

Minimum wage causes confusion in the working people

While many were happy with the introduction of the minimum wage, this jubilation has not lasted long. The pain is worsening for our members and solutions are few even within the framework of the law.

The minimum wage has divided workers into various classes, for instance farm workers, to be specific, are excluded from the above as if they are not workers. When a farm worker goes to the shop there is no lower price bread for farm workers. As F.A.W.U. we cautioned about being in a hurry whilst there are many uncertainties that came with the new minimum wage. Workers do not know whether to expect R 20 per hour or R 3 500 and as a result, this creates further tensions between employer and members.

The minimum wage stands in comparison to the Basic Conditions of Employment -all of a sudden workers must work less hours then prescribed in the BCEA. We know already what will be the answer. We cannot allow businesses to do the same as if they are the writers of this law. This has compromised various SECTORAL determinations in the hospitality, wholesale, retail and agricultural sectors and many others.

Employers make the excuses that they are complying with minimum wage, but claim they are under financial pressure. Workers are experiencing pain as result of this and many will retaliate soon and bring the country to a halt. The frustration will bring more protests and will halt the country soon. As an example, a worker that has received R 4300.00 is now all of a sudden earning less as the employer pays only the minimum wage. This will anger workers and they will respond without fear.

This matter needs to be attended to urgently and parties should be allowed to contribute to it before the problem worsen. The hope of economic growth that President Cyril Ramaphosa is speaking about is just a debts economy. Workers need an alternative to minimum wage - they need a decent salary that will ease their financial burden. The savings of workers and their responsibilities towards their families are threatened by dwindling wages.

Crime, social grants, poverty and unemployment will simply escalate if we leave matters as they are.

The upcoming elections will be over after 8 May 2019 and workers will continue to suffer.

FAWU demands a review of the minimum wage now!!

Tseleng Tau, FAWU North-West Provincial Secretary