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S. African parliamentary committee adopts national minimum wage bill
Last Updated: 2018-08-08 07:35 | Xinhua
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South African Parliament's Select Committee on Economic Development on Tuesday adopted the national minimum wage (NMW) bill and the related pieces of legislation.

Committee Chairperson Mandla Rayi described the move as "a progressive step" for South Africa.

"All these efforts are geared to alleviating poverty and fighting inequality," Rayi said.

It is even comforting that even opposition parties agree with the spirit of the bill, although they have raised areas of concerns, Rayi said.

The bill will be tabled to the National Council of Provinces (Upper House) for debate, and thereafter it will go to the president to be signed into law.

The South African government has been pushing the NMW, which is 3,500 rand (about 264 U.S. dollars) per month or 20 rand (about 1.5 dollars) per hour for over 6 million working people.

Trade unions, however, have lambasted the NMW as "slavery wage." In May, massive protests against the NMW took place across the country, and trade unions have threatened to stage more protests if the NMW is not raised to a living wage.

The government responded by saying that setting the NMW at the current level is informed by research and robust analysis.

While the introduction of the NMW may not mean a lot to those who are well looked after in the world of work, for the majority of the vulnerable workers, it will make a huge difference, according to the government.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to increase the NMW over time in a way that meaningfully reduces poverty and inequality.

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