Govt mulls over minimum wage to bridge income gap – Mildred Oliphant

2014-07-16 18:29

Government is weighing the merits of a sectoral versus a national minimum wage.

“We have to look at whether as a country, are we going to be able to have the national minimum wage, or are we going to be able to have a sectoral minimum wage,” said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant in Pretoria today.

“We are going to learn also from other countries like China and Brazil,” she said, adding that her department would talk to employers and employees locally as it tried to determine the best model.

Oliphant said the government was intent on exploring the introduction of a minimum wage because salary disparities remained vast, despite the equal-pay-for-equal-work provision in the country’s labour equity legislation.

She cited differences in pay for rock drillers in the mining sector, saying those in platinum, gold and coal mines were not earning the same amount, despite essentially doing the same job.

“When you look at the way they work, all of them are doing the same job. The question will have to be: Why do you have people who are doing the same job not being paid equally?”

President Jacob Zuma signalled in his state of the nation address last month that the government would pursue the implementation of a national minimum wage as a “key mechanism” to reduce income inequality.

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