'Minimum wage only gives us a foundation for a living wage'
South Africa is known as being among the top three most unequal countries in the world according to the World Bank and it is within this context that the struggle for a basic minimum wage has been fought.
After almost 5 years, a proposed minimum wage has been put on the table at R20 per hour but this has been contested by most unions who say it is an insult to workers and tantamount to a slave wage.
A parliamentary process considering public submissions on three bills that will give effect to the minimum wage is still underway.
Karima Brown spoke to Head of research at Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) Etienne Vlok and Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla to take a closer look at the journey leading up to the suggested wage.
Vlok says the process is significant and explains how the minimum wage will assist poor families.
Sharing his view on the matter, Pamla insists a number of concerns were factored in during negotiations.
A lot of work has gone into it and it is unfortunate when you hear people being dismissive.Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu spokesperson
At the end of the day we all had our own figures, we had to do a thorough honest work of representing workers and saying the economy that we inherited 24 years ago was deliberately designed to sideline some of the people and for us to come up with ways of transforming that, we have to move beyond rhetorical slogans, face the kind of economy we have and engage.Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu spokesperson
At the end of the day we are a byproduct of this exploitative economic system, for us to transform it we first have to engage with it.Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu spokesperson
Going forward we have a processes to make sure that the national minimum wage itself is not repealed by inflation and it keeps up going forward. For us we are happy that is there but there is still a lot of workers hurt because this only gives us a foundation for a living wage, the battle for a living wage is an ongoing battle.Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu spokesperson
Click on the link below to listen to the full conversation....
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