Minimum wage panel report expected next month

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the advisory panel on the national minimum wage will submit a report of their recommendations next month.

Ramaphosa said this when he fielded oral questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday.

Last month, the Deputy President appointed a seven-member advisory panel to advise on an appropriate level at which to set a national minimum wage to address inequality, while ensuring that it does not lead to job losses.

“To encourage progress, I have recently appointed, in consultation with the Committee of Principals, a seven-person panel to advise on an appropriate level at which the national minimum wage could be set,” Ramaphosa said.

“This advisory panel is in the process of reviewing available research into the potential social and economic impact of a minimum wage, as well as considering international experience.

“The panel is expected to report back to the Committee of Principals towards the end of next month.”

In his State of the Nation Address on 17 June 2014, President Jacob Zuma called on the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) social partners, under the leadership of the Deputy President, to establish a process to address wage inequality and protracted and violent strikes.

Structured work on a national minimum wage began following the Nedlac Labour Relations Indaba of November 2014.

The summit tasked a Committee of Principals – representing government, business, labour and community – to determine the modalities of a national minimum wage and measures to stabilise labour relations.

On Wednesday,  Ramaphosa said negotiations on a national minimum wage have been taking place within a technical task team, where the social partners have put forward various proposals and presented relevant research.

He also said that, in addition to discussions on the level at which such a wage should be set, the technical task team has been considering issues such as exclusions and exemptions, and the relationship between a future national minimum wage and existing sectoral wage determinations.

“While progress has been made on several principle issues, there are a number of matters on which the social partners have not reached agreement,” he said.

“This is vital work because we need to ensure that the national minimum wage makes a meaningful difference in the lives of the working poor and in their communities”

He also said that government would ensure that the national minimum wage does not undermine efforts to grow the economy and create jobs on a far greater scale.

The Deputy President said government is keen to have a national minimum wage in place as soon as possible, but added that for its implementation to be effective, it should be ensured that all social partners are on board.

“We therefore welcome the commitment from all social partners to work with urgency to conclude this process,” he added.

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