Based on a full report by Amy Musgrave on page 6 of the Star today and referred to by SALN today: Chasm at Nedlac between labour and business over minimum wage widens

The Star writes that an agreement on a national minimum wage is unlikely anytime soon, with a Cosatu document revealing that labour and business are at least R2,000 a month apart on what they each want. 

The labour federation’s draft organisational report for next week’s national congress illuminates how big the chasm is between the social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), which is investigating what the minimum wage should be and how to implement it. 

Business apparently wants the wage to be set close to the lowest current wage sectoral determination, which is for domestic workers and which will go up next month to range from R1,412.49 to R2,230.70 a month, depending on where and how long the employees work. 

Cosatu says new evidence shows a “more realistic” national poverty line of R4,014 for a household of four.  Its document states: 

“Business were indicating at the time of writing that they were not interested in a national minimum wage based on the evidence of poverty.  They were indicating that the rate should be set largely based on possible jobs and profit impacts.  Labour’s view was that while the potential for job impacts should not be ignored, the potential for job losses needed to be mitigated through putting in place appropriate industrial policies to protect and/or grow jobs in targeted areas.” 

Nedlac and the government have been cagey on details of the talks. 

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa apparently held bilateral meetings with the council’s social partners this week to try to find consensus.  Yet according to the Cosatu document, it is not only the amount of the minimum wage that is an issue between the parties.