Andre Kriel, the general secretary of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Andre Kriel, the general secretary of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Sactwu calls for hike in domestic workers’ minimum wage

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Jan 11, 2021

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Cape Town - The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) has called for a rapid increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for domestic workers and farm workers.

This as submissions to review the NMW recently closed.

In November, the Commission had proposed that the NMW floor be adjusted upwards by the September 2020 inflation rate (3%) plus 1.5%, during 2021. This means a proposed 4.5% increase during 2021.

A domestic worker from Delft, who asked to remain anonymous said this was by time because she was struggling.

"I work very hard to feed my family but it is never enough. There is always a need and the amount of work I do and the money I get feels unfair. I wish we can get this increase as it would really make a difference in my life," she said.

Currently, the national minimum wage for farm and domestic workers is lower than that applicable to other workers, Sactwu said.

"Noting that the real value of the National Minimum Wage has actually been eroded by inflation since it was first introduced at a rate of R20 per hour on January 1 2019 and even after it was slightly adjusted to R20.76 in March 2020, Sactwu has supported the commission's proposals for 4.5% increase in 2021," Sactwu general secretary Andre Kriel said.

"Now that the review comment period has formally closed, Sactwu calls on the commission to meet as soon as possible in order to finalise and formalise the new 4.5% increase in the National Minimum Wage, with haste."

Kriel said these two developments for farm and domestic workers constituted a major move towards the formalisation of a single higher NMW to become applicable for all workers.

The commission proposed an adjustment be made to lift the NMW for farm workers this year, to equal that applicable to other workers, and for the same be phased in for domestic workers next year.

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