File image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - The Federation of Unions of South Africa on Tuesday urged employers to comply fully with the requirements of the National Minimum Wage Act, in a message marking the 12th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work.

The new wage law compels all employers in the formal non-agricultural sector to pay their workers a minimum wage of R3,500 a month. The minimum wage for farm and domestic workers has been pegged at 90 percent and 80 percent of those in the formal non-agriculture respectively.

In a statement FEDUSA, South Africa's second-largest labour federation, said complying with the requirements of the national minimum wage would transform the circumstances of an estimated 6.4 million people.

It was also in line with the International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC) drive to overcome gender discrimination at work and promote meaningful participation in the economy by women and other marginalised groups in society, under the theme 'Investing in Care economy for Gender Equality'.

FEDUSA cited research by ITUC showing that although care work -- performed by women in more than 80 percent of the cases studied -- was central in freeing up millions of people to do their day jobs by looking after small children and the elderly, it was generally low paid work, physically and emotionally demanding, carried out in conditions of insecurity, inadequate training, poor career prospects and in some cases, in conditions of near slavery.

"South Africa’s decent work country programme agenda is also not being helped by the private sector’s failure to honour their ... commitments of halting retrenchments in order to turn around the unemployment crisis which has seen nearly 30 percent of the workforce out of a job," FEDUSA said.

- African News Agency (ANA)