Ubuntu: Pay Liveable Wages

2014-06-08 20:19

The crippling platinum strike cannot be allowed to continue as it has been extremely detrimental to all and especially the workers.

The inability to resolve the crisis is reflecting poorly on the country and is damaging the economy.

Shawn Hattingh, a researcher and educator for the International Labour Research Information Group in SA says: “the low wages of black workers in South Africa is the biggest challenge facing our country. If the mineworkers in the platinum industry succeed in their struggle, it may inspire others among South Africa’s working poor to mount an important challenge to the status quo.” (The Witness, June 05).

It’s very easy for bosses, company directors, boards of governors to say they cannot pay higher wages as the economy is plummeting so funds are low. But their lifestyles and luxury expenses indicate otherwise.

Paying the minimum or the lowest possible salary because the needy might otherwise have no jobs and go hungry, has always been the chorus of the capitalist.

The people at the bottom end of the salary bracket are finding it virtually impossible to improve their lives and that of their families and most in many cases plunge further into debt.

Paying workers so little makes it impossible for their families to enjoy an average lifestyle.

Making humans work hard and making them use all their effort and energy without paying a liveable or descent salary, is part of oppression and slavery.

Significant measures have to be taken to improve the situation of the masses and ordinary people. South Africa desperately needs to sort out its massive wage disparities and the unevenly distributed income.

It’s just a matter of time before the 'bomb' of discontent and frustration welling up within the struggling proletariat, explodes. The income hiatus has to be addressed for the benefit of all.

To address the high levels of hunger facing our country, the inequalities in salaries and the imbalances in living standards, which are the real causes of frustration, antagonism and crime, we need to work on two fronts: one to create mechanisms to empower the masses to be creative and become more productive and two, to fairly distribute the wealth, that is, pay those working for you exactly what is ethically due to them.

Until these mechanisms are established by the government and the private sector, may I appeal to bosses to pay their workers a liveable wage and not a minimum wage. As times get harder these wages must increase.

Paying a liveable wage expresses the great spirit of Ubuntu, sharing, caring and is the teachings of every religion.

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