4 April, 2018
Article on plan to scrap sectoral determinations
Industry is currently subject to the
minimum wage and
conditions of employment set out
in Sectoral Determination 12
for the Forestry Sector. Once the NMW comes into
effect, DoL intends to phase out our and all other Sectoral
Determinations. This is highly concerning. Read the article that
appeared in today's
Business Day, on this matter. FSA referred to
this in our submission to the Portfolio Committee on Labour in
Thursday last week, as did others who made submissions on that
day. Others have obviously also raised this matter in their
respective oral submissions.
Sector wage determination ‘must stay' after minimum
wage becomes law
26 MARCH 2018 -
05:53 LINDA ENSOR
Cosatu's top leaders plan to meet Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture:
Strong opposition has been expressed in Parliament to
the abolition of sectoral wage determinations once the minimum wage bill
Parliament's labour portfolio committee is holding
public hearings on the National Minimum Wage Bill and related amendments to the
Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act.
The removal of sectoral determinations, a measure
introduced by the Department of Labour and not as a result of negotiations
within the National Economic Development and Labour Council, will hit farm
workers particularly hard.
A researcher with the National Minimum Wage
Research Initiative at the University of the Witwatersrand, Gilad Isaacs, said
in a submission to the committee on Friday that sectoral determinations, which
govern non-unionised sectors, were an important tool to protect the most
vulnerable workers and to reduce poverty and wage inequality.
DA labour spokesman Michael Bagraim agreed that the
provision for sectoral determinations should remain on the statute books.
Sectoral determinations are set by the minister of
labour on the recommendations of the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC).
A proposed amendment to the Basic Conditions of
Employment Act would remove the possibility of updating existing sectoral
determinations and to institute new ones. It also stipulates that for only
three years following the commencement of the minimum wage act, wages set by
sectoral determinations that are higher than the minimum wage must increase
proportionally to any adjustment made to the minimum wage.
"It is commendable and appropriate that the
national minimum wage creates a single wage floor irrespective of levels
previously stipulated in the sectoral determinations," Isaacs said.
"However there is no reason to believe even through concerted effort by
the Department of Labour and social partners that any of the conditions [of
vulnerable, non-unionised workers] will change with the introduction of the
national minimum wage, or be eradicated within the three-year phase-out
period." He said the original motivation for the institution of sectoral
determinations therefore remained.
Furthermore, the abolition of sectoral
determinations would remove a tool to protect workers earning more than the
national minimum wage.
Cosatu, the Federation of Unions of SA and the
National Council of Trade Unions have proposed that the National Minimum Wage
Commission take over the function of the ECC and undertake an annual review of
the minimum wages and conditions set in a sectoral determination. The
commission would make recommendations on adjustments to the minister.
"Without this arrangement, workers covered by
sectoral determinations currently will suffer from a vacuum left by the repeal
of the ECC and the sections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act dealing
with sectoral determinations," the union federations submitted.
Isaacs also objected to the exclusion of
independent contractors from the definition of worker in the bill tabled in
Parliament, though the Department of Labour has indicated the intention is to
He said the inclusion of independent contractors
was especially important given the changes in the labour market, which have
seen the expansion of part-time employment, outsourcing and casualisation.
"South Africa should be a global leader in the
protection of workers' rights, not reinforcing an outdated notion of ‘employee'
that does not take cognisance of the changing nature of work globally,"
Also of concern, Isaacs added, was the limited
protection provided in the labour bills against casualisation. He recommended
that workers working less than 27 hours a week should receive one third more
than the national minimum wage hourly rate.
The rate for workers on the expanded public works
programme should be set as a percentage of the national minimum wage instead of
at a set R11 per hour and mechanisms should be put in place so it reaches the
minimum wage over a defined period of time.
Learnerships should also not be excluded from the
national minimum wage.
Source: Forestry South Africa