In an official statement detailing their reasoning behind their opposing the national minimum wage bill, The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) slammed what they consider “government efforts to institutionalise and legitimise slave wage disguised as a national minimum wage”.
According to the party, “R20 per hour or R3 500 will not restore the humanity and dignity of black workers, in particular women workers, let alone be decent enough to afford basic necessities for survival”.
“While we don’t oppose the legislation of national minimum wage in principle,” the party said.
The party demands a R4 500 national minimum wage across the board for all full-time workers. They also outlined their minimum salary demands, which include: R12 500 a month for mineworkers; R7 000 a month for builders; R6 500 a month or manufacturing workers; and R5 000 a month for farmworkers, retail workers, petrol attendants domestic workers and private security guards.
In the strongly worded statement, the party continued to say that it “rejects the R3 500 proposal with the contempt it deserves”.
“Unless the proposed legislation is genuine, aggressive and speedy resolution to exert discipline on private capital, which has taken advantage of the lives of workers. The EFF will not support such a legislation.”
The EFF is not the only source of contention regarding the new national minimum wage bill. The Democratic Alliance also oppose it, not because it’s too low, but because they believe it will hurt the economy and leading to major job losses. This view seems to be shared by the IFP, whose MP Xolani Ngwezi said: “We cannot support a minimum wage that is standardised across industries. It is unsustainable and quite frankly unaffordable.”
The landmark bill, along with the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, were adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday evening.
Some have responded positively to the bill. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) described it as “an historic victory for millions of workers” and the outcome of a long struggle. The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said it would lift more than 6.4 million workers out of abject poverty.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), however, have vowed to fight the bill. Representative Moleko Phakedi said they were currently planning a two-day national strike against it.