A proposal by a community organisation that monitors food prices and wage movements suggests that the national minimum wage which is under discussion be set at R8‚000.
The national minimum wage is mostly seen by unions‚ as one of the tools which can be used to address salary inequalities in the country.
The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) argues in its monthly food price barometer for May, that the number of people dependent on a single worker and the extent of inflation calls for a national minimum wage which can defeat, tackle inflation and alleviate unemployment.
11 sectoral determinations which cover 45% of vulnerable workers currently exists in South Africa. The sectors covered include: retail‚ security‚ agriculture‚ hospitality‚ domestic workers‚ clothing and textile.
In its argument, PACSA says that Stats SA’s first quarter Labour Force Quarterly Survey (QLFS) showed that out of the 29 million blacks who are eligible to work‚ only 11.6 million got employed‚ 8 million remained unemployed while 9.5 million were not even active economically.
According to PACSA, the QLFS figures shows that one black South African wage supports about four people while a white worker supports about two people.
Another problem cited is unemployment and the loss of jobs as revealed by the same survey which showed that 298‚000 blacks who were employed in the last quarter of 2015 were not equally employed in the first quarter of 2016.
“Every time one job is lost‚ the already very low wage given to a worker still in a job must now go even further to support his brother or sister’s family who has lost their wage earner. This pushes families deeper into poverty‚” PACSA said.
“The national minimum wage‚ albeit not the only instrument‚ could be a very important one to deal with our economic challenges. We have proposed a National Minimum Wage of R8‚000‚ cost for a household of 5 persons‚ to provide the possibility of living at a basic level of dignity.”
Meanwhile, based on the “poverty data‚ social grants and other income”, University of Witwatersrand’s School of Economics and Business Science researchers have estimated R4‚125 as suitable for national minimum wage.