Stinging attack on Ramaphosa over 'slave wages'

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa

Johannesburg – Metalworkers union Numsa on Tuesday criticised Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for trying to legislate what it calls "slave wages for blacks and Africans”.

The proposed R3 500 minimum wage Ramaphosa announced at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Sunday is not a living wage, general secretary Irvin Jim said in a statement.

“Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is extremely dangerous, continually gunning for the blood of the working class and ready to evaporate the dream of a living national minimum wage.”

READ: Ramaphosa challenged to live on R3 500

Ramaphosa led the Nedlac negotiations for the national minimum wage. 

Jim accused him of trying to please international rating agencies at the expense of the working class. He said the proposal would fail to lift workers out of poverty and narrow the widening wealth gap.

He suggested that government should have done detailed research, company-by-company, to reveal their total annual turnover.

Jim claimed that whites earned in excess of R20 000, while “extremely exploited” black workers were earning R3 700 to R4 500 per month. 

He also took a swipe at labour federations Cosatu and Fedusa, who were part of the minimum wage talks.

READ: Unemployment rises to 27.1%

According to Jim, they were making commitments to rating agencies aimed at averting a downgrade, and “selling out” workers.

Cosatu initially proposed a minimum wage of R4 500. Jim said Ramaphosa was exploiting the “weakened and fragmented” trade union federation.

He added that Numsa would outline a “fight-back strategy” at its national congress in Cape Town in December.

ALSO READ: How experts arrived at SA's R3 500 minimum wage figure

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