Minimum wage bill will help ‘stabilise SA labour relations’

28 November 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201812907

Commerce & Trade
Government & Municipal

THE signing into law of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill is a positive step towards stabilising South Africa’s labour relations environment and signals the country’s commitment both to social reform and social compacting.

That’s according to Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), which added that the bill falls within the ambit of much needed social reforms. “The coming together of social partners – business, organised labour, community and the government – demonstrates what can be achieved when the collective works towards a common social framework,” it said in a statement.

BUSA wa particularly pleased about the introduction of the new labour relations stability provisions: the default picketing rules, the secret strike ballots, the provision for extended dispute resolution prior to strike action and advisory arbitration.

The organisation also noted the exemption provisions in the NMW laws, particularly targeted at SMEs, that will provide some relief for those employers that cannot afford the National Minimum Wage. “This will need a well-capacitated Department of Labour to ensure the efficacy and correct application of the exemption provisions.

“The labour relations stability provisions strike a balance between ensuring accountability, while also guaranteeing the basic constitutional rights to strike, associate and pursue economic activity.”

BUSA President Sipho Pityana described the signing of the bill as a “resounding nod to social compacting and reinforces its need in our country. Now, the hard work of ensuring that this framework will bring about meaningful change in the lives of millions of South African workers begins. We have travelled a long, hard road to get to this seminal juncture, and that is thanks to the goodwill shown by the social partners”.

BUSA CEO Tanya Cohen said, “The new advisory arbitration provisions are a clear signal the Nedlac constituents agree that violent and protracted strike action is no longer regarded as acceptable. We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreed outcome on the National Minimum Wage and urge all businesses to put plans in place to ensure compliance or go about official channels to seek exemptions”.

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