The Congress of South African Trade Unions warmly welcomes the decision of the German parliament, on 3 July 2014, to adopt, for the first time, a nationwide minimum wage. When it has been phased in, between 1 January 2015 and 2017, the minimum wage of euro8.50 an hour (R125) will eventually benefit more than 5-million workers in low-paid jobs.
The decision will powerfully strengthen COSATU’s campaign for a national minimum wage in South Africa.
The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) has been struggling for years for this national minimum wage, with the support of the Social Democratic Party, who promised to take steps to narrow a growing pay gap in Germany’s 42-million-g labour force.
The DGB has rejected as “propaganda” claims by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, that that it could force small and medium-sized businesses to dismiss workers. COSATU agrees with DGB chairman Reiner Hoffmann that “the minimum wage won’t be a job killerrdquo and that this ldquohas been confirmed by serious studies and the experience of our European neighbours and the US.”
Introducing a universal minimum wage brings Europe’s biggest economy in line with 21 of the European Union’s 28 member states. This should help to convince the ANC Government to speed up its promised investigation into the modalities of introducing the same policy here. If right-wing European governments with lower levels of inequality than South Africa can successfully enforce a national minimum wage, there can be no argument that it is both necessary and practical in South Africa.
COSATU will continue to demand that it be brought in as quickly as possible, and remains convinced that it will both reduce inequality and poverty and stimulate economic growth as the additional money earned by workers is converted into increased demand for goods and services, which in turn will lead to more jobs for those producing the goods and delivering the services.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson), Congress of South African Trade Unions
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions