The national minimum wage must set a social floor below which no worker must fall
22 November 2016
The South African Communist Party has noted the release of the National Economic Development and Labour Council advisory panel report, including a proposed monthly national minimum wage of R3,500. The importance of a national minimum wage in South Africa, a society characterised by high levels of inequalities, cannot be over-emphasised. The national minimum wage should set a social floor below which which no worker must fall. This process should lead to establishing a living wage as a national minimum wage to improve workers' conditions and boost economic activity based on developing national production.
The SACP respects the primary position of trade unions, as elementary organisations of workers at the workplace, to consult extensively and widely and consolidate a united mandate to finalise negotiations on the settlement level relating to the unfolding national minimum wage engagements. This should also be seen as a platform to reach out to unorganised workers and to organise them, thus to expand organised unity and strengthen progressive trade unionism. The SACP will continue to support its ally, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu) and all workers in general. The SACP is calling on the bosses to stop their greed and start making real concessions
Workers must guard against the danger by the bosses to treat minimum wages as maximum wages, and for wages to be treated in isolation from the need for a comprehensive social wage including social security. The SACP is calling on workers to continue organising in progressive trade unions and to advance the struggle to change the prevailing capitalist pattern of unfair distribution of income from production and exchange. This is the struggle for collective bargaining and actual wages above the level of a national minimum wage, improved working conditions and economic control.
Issued by Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, National Spokesperson, SACP, 22 November 2016