Picture: ALON SKUY
Picture: ALON SKUY

Business Unity SA (Busa) says it will "closely interrogate" the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) advisory panel report on the proposed new national minimum wage.

"We will need to consult diligently with members to understand the potential impact of the recommendation on different sectors and types of businesses," the organisation said on Tuesday.

"We need to closely interrogate the report in relation to the wage and employment trade-off. In studying the report, Busa will carefully consider our shared interests as a country in addressing poverty, and inequality, without compromising employment given tough economic conditions."

Busa, which is on Nedlac’s committee of principals, said it was important to remember that the minimum wage initiative was one mechanism among several to reduce poverty and inequality and that employment was the best mechanism address this.

The organisation would respond to the report at the next committee meeting.

The release of the Nedlac advisory panel report, which includes a proposed monthly minimum wage of R3,500, has elicited a mixed reaction.

The recommended monthly wage is said to be below the "working poverty line" of R4,317 but above the sectoral determinations the labour minister has in place to protect workers in sectors where there is no wage bargaining between unions and employers.

A total of 47% of the South African workforce earns less than R3,500/month.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) said it was not happy with the proposed amount and believed it should be R5,000 or more.

The league called on stakeholders to reconsider the current proposal.

"As the ANCYL, we wish to advise stakeholders to first conduct a study of living conditions and expenses of the least-paid workers rather than looking at what employers say [they] can pay workers," it said.

"The most affected here are general workers, domestic workers, security guards and cleaners. These sectors are highly populated by the youth ... [and] some of them are parents, heads of household and look after many dependants."


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