Campaign for a National Minimum Wage in South Africa
Category : PACSA news
South Africa has one of the highest inequalities ratios and this is reflected in the wages that most workers in South Africa take home. The median wage, in 2014 figures, was R3033 per month and then 50% of all workers earned less that the median. The question of a national minimum wage and the level at which such a minimum should be set is therefore one of the most contested policy discussion in South Africa today.PACSA’s Mervyn Abrahams took part in a panel discussion hosted by Workers World Media which was broadcast live on the CTV Labour Show (DSTV Channel 263) as well as a radio programme broadcast on SAFM on the 11th May 2016. PACSA’s contribution in these discussions was to explore the impact of the rising cost of living on workers and their families. We showed that it costs R3053.86 per month to provide basic levels of nutrition to a household of 5 persons and that such a household require a minimum of R7000.00 to provide for the basic household expenditures. Considering that each worker in South Africa, on average, supports 4 other persons on their salaries we argued that the minimum wage must be set at that level. Setting minimum wages lower will only reinforce the poverty-wage trajectory that we find ourselves in.
Increasing wages could also have a positive effects on the economy. Research in countries such as Brazil, England and Germany has reinforced these as workers spend more on goods and services and thus contribute to economic growth. Listen to a podcast of the interview broadcasted on SAFM radio at https://soundcloud.com/wwmp/workers-on-wednesday-safm-11-may-2016