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NMW intended to improve the living standards – workers told in the Free State province briefing sessions

by lloyd last modified 2018-02-02 17:34

2 February 2018

The introduction of the long-awaited National Minimum Wage (NMW) is intended to improve the living standards of the workers and reduce inequalities.

Addressing the Department of Labour’s worker briefing session on the introduction of the NMW and amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Steven Rathai, Director for Employment Standards said the country is faced with the high levels of inequality, unemployment, and poverty.

Rathai said that the introduction of NMW was important in that it will cover all workers. He was addressing workers and their union representatives during the briefing sessions held yesterday in Bloemfontein and in Welkom today.

He said the NMW Bill will be reviewed annually for its adjustment. He says factors for consideration in the review would include the impact on the economy, inflation, the cost of living, wage levels, productivity and the ability of businesses to carry on successfully.

The highlighted key amendments in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) will include the extension of provision for monitoring and enforcement by the labour inspectors which will apply to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA).

The key amendments in the BCEA include:

1.  Referral of disputes to the CCMA about non-compliance of BCEA, NMW, UIA, and Unemployment Insurance Contribution Act (UICA).

2. Amendments to permit labour inspectors to obtain an undertaking to comply with the NMW and to apply to CCMA to have undertaking and compliance order made an arbitration award.

3. Extending the power of inspectors to issue a compliance order for NMW, UIA, UICA breaches and allowing employers who dispute the compliance order to refer the matter to the CCMA for arbitration.

4. The BCEA will now also permit inspectors to enforce compliance with the NMW in sectors with collective agreements including bargaining councils.

Talking on the transitional provisions, Rathai said the sectoral determinations will remain in force.

The briefing session also highlighted the key amendments to the Labour Relations Act which come from a process of engagement through National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) on the state of the labour relations environment and, in particular to address  violent and protracted strikes.

The LRA amendments go together with a Code of Good Practice: Collective Bargaining, Industrial Action and Picketing and an Accord on Collective Bargaining and Industrial Action.

The amendments in the LRA are aimed to come into law in early 2018.

The National minimum wage is set for implementation from 1 May 2018. The agreed national minimum wage at NEDLAC is pegged at R20 an hour for major sectors, with the exception of sectors such as farm workers, domestic workers and expanded public works programme workers.

The worker engagement/briefing sessions started on 9 November 2017 in Johannesburg. The briefing sessions are targeting all sectors of the economy. Further briefing sessions have been held in Pretoria, Cape Town, George, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Durban, Tzaneen, Polokwane, Mbombela, Emalahleni, Klerksdorp and Rustenburg.

The next briefing sessions are lined up as follows: Umtata (07 February), East London (08 February), Port Elizabeth (09 February), Upington (15 February), and culminating in Kimberley on (16 February).

The briefing sessions on NMW and amendments to labour laws are held from 10:00-13:00.

Issued by:

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694

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