The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has welcomed the proposed hikes in the National Minimum Wage, which they say would benefit domestic workers most, and should be implemented swiftly.
The National Minimum Wage Commission has proposed a consumer price index (CPI) plus 1% increase to the minimum wage.
The move may see the new minimum wage increasing to R23 per hour from next year, with the current minimum wage standing at R21.69.
“This is really gonna help [and] uplift millions of workers. It will benefits about six million of the most poorly paid and impoverished workers in the retail sector, farmworkers, domestic workers [etc.] CPI is currently about 5% plus 1% so in effect it will be a 6% increase.
“Another positive aspect is domestic workers will get an increase of about 17% because they are paid 88% of the minimum wage. So we going to equalise domestic workers, which gonna benefit around 900,000 workers,” Cosatu’s parliamentary coordinator, Matthew Parks told eNCA.
Parks called on the National Minimum Wage Commission as well as the Department of Labour and Employment to make sure the increase comes into effect by March 2022.
According to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMEJD) group, the national minimum wage for a general worker in November 2021 stood at R3,643.92.
The group calculated that transport to work and back costs an average of R1,344 (36.9% of national minimum wage) due to high fuel prices, and electricity an average of R731.50 (20.1%).
Transport and electricity, both non-negotiable expenses, take up 57% (R2,075.50) of the national minimum wage, leaving R1,568.42 to secure all other household expenses.
With the average cost of the food basket for a family of four now at R2,921.36, families will still have a food shortfall of 46.3% (-R1,352.94) even if all the remaining money after transport and electricity went to food.
When the national minimum wage of R3,643.92 is disbursed in a black South African family of 4.3 people, each person gets R847.42, which is well below the upper-bound poverty line of R1,335 per person per month.
The minimum shortfall on food for a family is 46.3% in November 2021.
Additional reporting by Ina Opperman