As you may now be aware, all social partners have agreed, and all parties other than COSATU, have now signed the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and Labour Relations Stability Agreement. COSATU have indicated they are not withdrawing from the Agreement, but want to take the extra step of consulting their CEC before signing.
The Agreement includes:
- A Declaration on the NMW and LR stability, inclusive of the Accord, Code of Good Practice and Labour Relations Act Amendments
- Principle agreement on the modalities of a NMW.
- An Accord on Labour Market Stability
The texts will be distributed as soon as they are available however the key issues are:
National Minimum Wage (NMW)
One of the key provisions of the Agreement is the introduction of a NMW of R20 per hour, which will come into effect on 1 May 2018. The NMW is introduced with the option of exemptions based on affordability and will be phased in for the first year, with domestic workers at 75% and agricultural workers at 90%. There is specific agreement that exemption processes will be streamlined and efficient, and particularly designed to enable smaller businesses to apply for exemptions without undue process burdens. A NMW Commission, will be established, which will determine annual escalations on an evidence basis. Adjustment criteria will include consideration of employment levels, GDP and productivity amongst other factors.
Labour relations and stability
The Accord introduces a Code of Good Practice on Collective Bargaining, Industrial Action and Picketing to guide parties on good practice, to build capacity and shift the tone of labour relations to ensure that, where required, industrial action is peaceful.
It also includes amendments to the Labour Relations Act that embed the concept of secret balloting before strikes and advisory arbitration in the event that there is prolonged or violent strike action.
There is also a commitment to monitor and review the effectiveness of the Code and LRA amendments in Nedlac to determine whether they are achieving the desired effect.