Implement sliding scale of remuneration instead of standardised minimum wage, says SAPTU

SAPTU reiterated its call to the National Minimum Wage Commission (NWC) to create a sliding scale for the minimum wage linked to experience and training, instead of just increasing it across the board. 

SAPTU (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union) in October 2021 handed in a proposal after the Commission requested submissions on possible adjustments to the National Minimum Wage [Act No. 9 of 2018] for 2022. Earlier this month the NWC again asked for written representations concerning possible adjustments to the national minimum wage. These recommendations will be considered by the Commission before it publishes its annual report and recommendations on the annual review of the national minimum wage later in the year.

SAPTU’s submission suggests a sliding scale for the minimum wage linked to experience and training to invest in skills development, turn around unemployment, and gradually raise the remuneration of employees. 

“We hope that the National Minimum Wage Commission will seriously consider looking at the long-term implications of increasing the national minimum wage,” says Adv Ben van der Walt, the general secretary of SAPTU. “Poverty and unemployment can only be successfully eradicated if the local business sphere has the opportunity to contribute to the economy. If they cannot afford wages, they will have to either move towards alternative production methods such as mechanisation or close their business as it is no longer economically sustainable. The Commission’s solution for employers to apply for a reduced wage, will not solve the problem, but will rather lead to more unemployment.” 

The NWC should look in-depth at the impact of the current minimum wage on productivity. The Act should be in balance with the productivity of employees and beneficial to employers to turn a profit. Without profit, no business can survive.

“The unemployment rate of around 45% should be more alarming and concerning to the government than a standardised minimum wage,” says Adv Van der Walt. “We want to emphasise again that the government should equally invest in training South Africans – higher skills and more experience leads to higher income – and creating an investment-friendly environment for local and international investors to grow the economy.

“Currently the burden of unemployment falls disproportionally on the youth with approximately close to 60% percent of those aged 15 to 34 are unable to find employment. Flowing from this substantial amount of is youth also presently employed in the Agricultural sector which is of a concern for us.

SAPTU proposes creating a sliding scale for the minimum wage linked to experience and training. This way, an employer can employ people according to their skills level and invest in their training, thereby moving them up the scale to earn a higher salary. The sliding scale levels must be linked to training, progression, and experience. SAPTU’s submission is available at this link

“By incentivising employees with training opportunities, South Africa empowers its labour market, invests in local business and grows the economy,” concludes Adv Van der Walt. 

Photo by Yuri Krupenin on Unsplash