Globally, trade unions have seized on the national minimum wage as a powerful weapon against low pay. Closer home, the LRS has a long history participating in the minimum wage debate. In 1991, we published our first paper on economic policy, putting the view for trade unions who wished for a national minimum wage to fight low pay in South Africa. Our advocacy at policymaking and union levels sprung from the data on the huge disparities in income in the labour market and the fact that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. We advocated for a national minimum wage policy as a legislative drive to strengthen the protection of vulnerable workers.
On the 1st of January 2019, the National Minimum Wage Act came into effect in South Africa. LRS Executive Director, Trenton Elsely, was nominated by a trade union federation and appointed by the Minister of Labour and Employment as a commissioner to the National Minimum Wage Commission, representing the interests of organised labour. Although the national minimum wage is set far lower than a living wage, it is a meaningful development that raises the floor for many in South Africa’s ultra-low wage economy.
- Questions and answers about the NMW review – an interview with Trenton Elsely, Commissioner, National Minimum Wage Commission
- National Minimum Wage Act
- National Minimum Wage Act | Annual Review and Adjustment of the National Minimum Wage for 2021
- National Minimum Wage Commission Progress Report, by Trenton Elsley (Member, NMW Commission) | February 2020
- A report on proceedings of the NMW Commission, by Trenton Elsley (Member, NMW Commission) | September 2019
- The National Minimum Wage: The post Implementation Conversation, by Prof Adriaan Van der Walt, (Chairperson, NMW Commission) | September 2019
- Enforcement of the National Minimum Wage in South Africa
- Towards a national minimum wage in South Africa
- The National Minimum Wage: How to fight for low pay in South Africa
- South Africa and the introduction of a National Minimum Wage | LRS Bargaining Indicators 2017
- Gender Pay Gap: How can a national minimum wage contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap and moving us closer to gender equality? | Bargaining Indicators 2015