Press Statement dated 8 October 2018

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on government to speed up the implementation of the National Minimum Wage as it joins millions of workers in South Africa and across the globe in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work today.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), ‘decent work’ refers to accessing opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income; security in the workplace, social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

In 2015 the United Nations General Assembly also adopted the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda – Employment Creation; Social Protection; Rights at Work; and Social Dialogue - as integral parts of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; whose Goal Number 8 calls for the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work.

The global focus for the World Day for Decent Work this year is on the struggle for a decent minimum wage and a pay rise for all workers of the world. In South Africa, both Houses of Parliament - the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces - have passed the National Minimum Wage Bill which prescribes a basic floor of wages of R3 500 a month which will lift more than 6.6 million workers earning below this amount out of abject poverty when promulgated. The Bill is now waiting for the signature of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Although South Africa posted some progress last week towards achieving Pillar 1 of the Decent Work Agenda - namely Employment Creation – by holding a Presidential Jobs Summit which will create an estimated 275 000 direct jobs, the rest of the Pillars of the Decent Work Agenda such as Social Protection, Rights at Work and Social Dialogue are still under duress as thousands of workers in the manufacturing and mining industries face job loses while those in the commercial and retail sectors are ravaged by casualization and precarious work.

Issued by Dennis George, General Secretary, Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa)