Hilary Joffe Columnist

The government, labour and business have moved to create a more stable labour relations environment, reaching a broad consensus on measures to prevent long and violent strikes, and agreeing to consider a monthly minimum wage of R3,500. Ratings agencies have been looking to labour reforms, and to the ability of the government, labour and business to work together on these, as one sign of whether SA is serious about effecting the structural reforms it has promised to implement in order to boost investor confidence and economic growth. Organised labour and the ANC have long called for a national minimum wage to combat SA’s high levels of inequality and poverty, but there have been concerns that too high a wage would see businesses shedding labour, driving up SA’s already high unemployment rate. At the same time, there have been growing concerns among investors and ratings agencies about uncontrolled strikes that destabilise SA’s labour environment and put question marks over economic g...

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