The Parliament of South Africa has joined millions of South Africans in commemorating Worker’s Day.
Workers’ Day has been an international holiday in many countries since 1891, while in South Africa, it was only officially recognised and observed since the attainment of freedom in 1994.
Parliament said it views this holiday both as a celebration of workers’ rights and a reminder of the critical role that workers unions played in the fight against apartheid and in advancing the development of the people of the country.
“We remain mindful of the great strides we have achieved as a nation towards transforming the labour relations landscape through eliminating restrictive and oppressive labour laws and replacing them with a progressive constitution and pieces of legislation that guarantee inalienable rights of workers such as freedom of association, collective bargaining, right to strike and workplace freedom,” read a statement from Parliament on Wednesday.
Last year in May, Parliament passed an amendment to labour laws aimed at bolstering worker’s rights.
This amendment saw the minimum wage being set at R20 per hour covering all sectors except farm workers, domestic workers and Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers.
The rate for farm workers was 90% of R20 which was R18 per hour; domestic workers was 75% of R20 which was R15 per hour; EPWP workers would be paid R11 per hour which was 55% of R20.
Parliament conceded that much more still needs to be done to fully realise the ideals many workers struggled for and laid down their lives to achieve.
“As such, we recommit ourselves to build a truly people’s Parliament, that spares no effort in ensuring that life-changing laws are made, the executive is overseen fearlessly and the public meaningfully participates in Parliamentary programmes aimed at advancing a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous nation where all workers enjoy the rights enunciated in the constitution,” said the presiding officers.
– African News Agency (ANA)