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Department of labour to invite public comments on National Minimum Wage, amendments to BCEA and LRA

by Lloyd Ramutloa last modified 2017-11-09 17:02

9 November 2017

The recently-approved National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill including the amending of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act  (BCEA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA) are expected to be published in the Government gazette no later than 19 November, paving the way for public comments.

Department of Labour Director: Collective Bargaining, Ian Macun said the Bills have also been sent to Parliament for legal advice and consideration. Macun said: “we are now in a comment and discussion phase with stakeholders”.

Macun was addressing the start of the Departmental national series of information sessions to inform trade unions, shop stewards and worker stakeholders on the introduction of NMW and the amendments to the BCEA and the LRA. The briefing session was held at Turffontein Race Course in Johannesburg.

The National Minimum Wage Bill makes provision for the introduction and enforcement of a minimum wage of R20 per hour which is due to come into effect on 1 May 2018. There are a few exceptions to the national minimum wage which include:

·          The minimum wage for farm workers will be 90 percent of R20 per hour (R18 per hour);

·          The minimum wage for domestic workers will be 75 percent of R20 per hour (R15 per hour);

·          The minimum wage for workers on an expanded public works programme is R11 per hour).

Responding to a criticism that R20 per hour is a “poverty rate”, Macun said although the rate was not enough, “time will tell whether we got it right. This is a start to improve the living conditions of workers”. He appealed to unions to play a vigilant role, emphasising that the introduction of NMW was not intended to undermine collective bargaining.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, 2017 seeks to introduce amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 in line with the enactment of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2017. The primary amendments to be introduced relate to the repeal of sections of the BCEA that relate to the making of sectoral determinations and the powers and functions of the Employment Conditions Commission.

Amendments are also made to affect monitoring and enforcement by the labour inspectorate to apply compliance with the national minimum wage and unemployment insurance as well as the jurisdiction of the CCMA which  is extended to include enforcement procedures and claims for underpayment in terms of the BCEA, the national minimum wage, unemployment insurance legislation and claims arising from contracts or collective agreements.

Amendments to the Labour Relations Act aim to strengthen collective bargaining and to introduce an advisory arbitration measure to resolve strikes.

The LRA amendments will be accompanied by a Code of Good Practice on Collective Bargaining, Industrial Action and Picketing. The Code is intended to provide practical guidance on collective bargaining, the resolution of disputes of mutual interest and to industrial action.

Worker representatives at the briefing session said they reject the Code.

Department of Labour Deputy Director: Employment Standards Sub-Directorate, Unathi Ramabulana said the introduction of NMW would improve enforcement mechanisms instead of ensuring compliance to the current 10 Sectoral Determinations.

Ramabulana said the NMW Bill makes provision for exemptions. She said regulations regarding exemptions were being drafted and will be published next year. She cautioned though that key to exemptions would be disclosure.

According Ramabulana Sectoral Determinations will remain in force, except to the extent that they prescribe wages below NMW.

The next stakeholder briefing session on NMW, amendments to BCEA and LRA will be held tomorrow (10 November) at Protea Hotel, 390 Lillian Ngoyi Street in Pretoria.

For more information contact:

 

Thembinkosi Mkalipi

082 854 4358

 

Or

 

Ian Macun

082 908 2361

 

Issued by:

 

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694


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