Government’s political will is to ensure the tough enforcement of the implementation of the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
“Ours as a government is to strengthen the inspectorate and the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) monitoring roles,” said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, pledging that government was looking at increasing the budgets of these entities.
Speaking during an hour-long live webcast organised by the ILO in Johannesburg on Thursday, the Minister cautioned employers who dismiss workers en masse and re-employ and pay them at NMW rate or even less.
Oliphant said government was aware of a new tactic that was gathering traction - that of firing workers to undermine the labour laws that seek to address unemployment, inequality and poverty.
The Minister said her department will stop these tactics in their tracks.
Already the department is in the process of naming and shaming employers who fail to comply by publishing them on the department’s website.
The department is also on a national blitz to assess levels of NMW Act, at businesses with over 1 300 inspectors assigned to monitor compliance.
The Act, which came into effect on 01 January 2019, stipulates that R20 is the minimum rate workers should earn per hour. For farm and forestry workers - it is R18.00 per hour, domestic workers R15.00 per hour and for Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) it is R11.00 per hour.
The webcast organised was part of the ILO which is marking its centenary. In the African continent, the ILO has been in operation for 60 years.
The Minister said labour laws such as the Labour Relations Act exist to strengthen relationships between employers and employees.
She said South Africa should pride itself that it had a structure like Nedlac where all social partners were able to deal with problems afflicting the labour market.
Oliphant went on to reassure that government was also committed to investing in the economy of the country to create much-needed jobs.
South Africa was also in support of the recommendations contained in the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work report – that of increasing investment in people’s capabilities, increasing investment in the institutions of work and increasing investment in decent and sustainable work.