Cosatu wants sectoral determination abolished

FILE PICTURE: Cosatu North West provincial secretary Solly Phetoe. Picture: Sabrina Dean.

FILE PICTURE: Cosatu North West provincial secretary Solly Phetoe. Picture: Sabrina Dean.

The sectoral determinations for various sectors do not address inequality, the portfolio committee on labour heard on Wednesday.

“All nine sectoral determinations do not address the issues of poverty and inequality,” said Cosatu North West provincial secretary, Solly Phetoe.

He was speaking at the committee’s public hearing on the national minimum wage.

He said not all employers implemented sectoral determination relevant for them.

“Here in Rustenburg there is a supermarket that does not comply with the sectoral determination.”

Sectoral determination regulates minimum wage in different sectors.

Phetoe said the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) proposed a minimum wage of between R6000 and R7000 for vulnerable workers. He proposed that all sector determinations must be abolished.

About 300 workers from various sectors attended the public hearing.

Earlier Mpho Maine told the committee that domestic workers must be paid a minimum wage of R3000 per month.

She said most of them were single parents and could not afford a decent life on their R600 monthly pay.

“We pay rent and transport from that money. At the end we are left with nothing to support our families.”

Mineworkers at the public hearing told the committee that the minimum wage in the mining sector must be R8500 for surface workers and R9500 for underground workers.

Godfrey Nthutang area chairman of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at Bafokeng Rasimone platinum mine warned that the minimum wage was a complex issue.

“We must not lie to workers. Minimum wage is a complex issue. Consider medical aid deduction, tax and pension contribution,” he said.

He said the R12,500 minimum wage demand in the platinum mining sectors was the union’s ten-year plan.

“The R12,500 is NUM’s ten-year plan. The plan is that by 2018 all mineworkers must earn a minimum of R12,500.”

He said the plan promised R12,500 in three years starting with a minimum wage of R8500.

Three platinum mines in Rustenburg have experienced labour unrest since 2012.

In January this year, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) led a five-month long strike, demanding a basic salary of R12,500.

Union members downed tools at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Lonmin and Impala on January 23.

The strike ended on June 24 when the workers urged Amcu to sign a three-year wage settlement that would increase their salaries by R1000 in the first two years of the agreement and 950 in the last year of the agreement.

In August 2012, rock drill operators at Lonmin mines in Marikana rejected NUM and spearheaded a wildcat strike, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

The strike turned violent and 34 people were killed on August 16, 2012 when police fired at them. Police were apparently attempting to disarm and disperse them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

President Jacob Zuma appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to chair a commission probing the incident.

The commission has completed its work and is expected to submit its recommendations to Zuma in March.

Before the Lonmin strike, workers at Impala went on a wildcat strike, apparently after the company increased rock drill operators’ salary by 18 percent.

They rejected NUM and elected to be led by a workers’ committee.

The labour unrest led to Amcu replacing NUM as the dominant union in the platinum sector.

Portfolio committee chairwoman Lumka Yengeni said the committee would consider all proposals to find a reasonable national minimum wage.

She said the committee may return to Rustenburg to offer other sectors an opportunity to present their proposals.

The hearing was dominated by domestic workers and mineworkers.

The committee has postponed public hearing in Gauteng and Free State.

The hearings were scheduled for Johannesburg on Thursday and Bloemfontein on Friday.


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