Comply with 'balanced' minimum wage law, BUSA urges businesses

Business Unity SA has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signing of the National Minimum Wage Bill into law, urging South African businesses to put measures in place to ensure they are able to comply.

Ramaphosa signed the bill on Friday last week, after months of contention from various quarters of organised business, as well as objections to details, such as the proposed figure, from unions.

In a statement, BUSA said the newly signed law was a positive step towards stabilising South Africa's labour relations environment.

The wage signalled the country's commitment to both social reform and social compacting, the statement added.

'Victory for workers'

BUSA president Sipho Pityana said it was a victory for workers, who have long waited for the certainty and dignity of a living wage.

"The coming into fruition of the National Minimum Wage Bill is a resounding nod to social compacting and reinforces its need in our country.

"Now, the hard work of ensuring that this framework will bring about meaningful change in the lives of millions of South African workers begins," said Pityana.

Pityana said the policy’s labour relations stability provisions "strike a balance" between ensuring accountability, while also guaranteeing the basic constitutional rights to strike, associate and pursue economic activity.

Violent strikes unacceptable

At the same time, BUSA CEO Tanya Cohen said the new advisory arbitration provisions were a clear signal the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) constituents agreed that violent, protracted strikes were no longer acceptable.

"We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreed outcome on the National Minimum Wage and urge all businesses to put plans in place to ensure compliance or go about official channels to seek exemptions," said Cohen.

Busa also welcomed the introduction of new labour relations stability provisions such as default picketing rules, the secret strike ballots, the provision for extended dispute resolution prior to strike action and advisory arbitration.

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