JOHANNESBURG - South African labour unions have welcomed the national minimum wage increase and urged employers and domestic workers alike to ensure salaries are raised accordingly.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulasi Nxesi gazetted an increase of 8.5% to the minimum wage, set to take effect in March.
The national minimum wage will go up from R25.42 to R27.58 per hour from 1 March 2024.
Vulnerable employees, such as domestic and farm workers, must receive remuneration at this prescribed level, while those employed under the Expanded Public Works Programme should be paid a minimum wage of R15 and R16 per hour.
Labour federations the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) have welcomed the recent adjustment.
However, SAFTU’s Trevor Shaku said that the current minimum wage fell short of providing workers and their families with a decent standard of living.
"The current minimum wage is inadequate to cover even a basic household food basket, not to mention hygienic products, rent, municipal services, and transportation to work and school. These are fundamental necessities that sustain a worker and enable them to offer their labour power daily."
SAFTU said employers paying below the minimum wage would face fines.
Meanwhile, the above-inflation increase in the minimum wage for domestic workers comes at a time when those who can employ them are struggling financially.