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While South Africa’s unemployment rate fell slightly in the fourth quarter, reaching the lowest level in two years, many have expressed that more needs to be done to adequately address joblessness in the country.

South Africa's minimum wage has, for some time, been a huge subject of debate between the government and trade unions. However, this week yielded a positive outcome for employees who rely on the minimum wage, following the labour minister's recent announcement. 

The National Minimum Wage is viewed as an important tool used to reduce poverty in South Africa. A recent proposal by the country’s labour department could see the minimum wage paid to individuals increase in 2023.


Wage increase negotiations have been ongoing between the government and unions representing workers in the public sector. The breakdown of the most recent final offer brought before unions has been clarified.


Several public sector unions are set to embark on protest action on Tuesday which will disrupt public services including healthcare and home affairs. However, economists have raised concern that the strikes could mean further damage to the economy.

In the Labour Relations Act (LRA), it states that every employee has the right to strike, and every employer has recourse to a lockout. However, the effects of recent strike action have raised concerns about the country’s labour laws.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW)  is viewed as an important instrument in reducing poverty in South Africa. Those who employ workers but fail to pay the minimum wage are breaking the law.


Public service worker unions and the government are yet to come to a wage increase agreement, despite months of negotiations. The next few weeks are therefore crucial if industrial action is to be prevented.


South Africa’s labour department is currently embarking on a roadshow around the country. They want to educate the country’s labour force on the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees.


The minimum wage in South Africa was introduced to protect workers from receiving unduly low remuneration and serve as a form of social justice. Employers are prohibited from paying staff below the minimum wage.


Two of South Africa’s largest trade unions are currently embarking on a National Shutdown in protest of the rising cost of living in the country. However, workers have been warned that they will not be paid if they join the shutdown.


Two of South Africa’s biggest unions are gearing up for a national strike. Their nationwide strike will be in protest of the increasing price of fuel, food and continuing power cuts that leave many citizens in the dark.


While Covid-19 vaccines were not compulsory in South Africa, vaccine mandates were introduced by companies which restricted the movement of unvaccinated individuals from accessing certain spaces.


Ministers, deputy ministers and parliamentarians will be pleased after President Cyril Ramphosa accepted recommendations which will result in an increase in their remuneration. However, the move has not been well received.


The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) R350 grant is seen as a crucial support mechanism for individuals who are unemployed and do not receive any financial relief from the government. 

A Constitutional Court decision which absolved the government from honouring a multi-year public sector wage increase was taken on the chin by unions and workers alike. However, the fight for increases has just begun with a 10% increase being demanded.


The Constitutional Court's dismissal, in late February 2022, of the public service unions' appeal over the 2018 wage agreement with the South African government marks the end of a long legal battle that began in 2018. 

A tough next round of wage negotiations has been set up after public sector unions lost a court bid that will see their members lose out on the third year increases of the collective wage agreement reached in 2018.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) increase has been approved and will come into effect in March 2022. Here’s how the adjustments will impact workers around South Africa. 

The minimum wage is deemed to be an important instrument in improving the lives of South Africans and lifting them out of poverty.




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