R1 an hour is not enough, says domestic workers’ union

| Thembela Ntongana
The minimum wage for domestic workers goes up by R1 an hour from next month. Photo by Masixole Feni.

The increase in minimum wages for domestic workers of R1 an hour is not enough, says Myrtle Witbooi, general secretary of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU).

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced the minimum wage adjustment this week. From 1 December, the minimum wage for domestic workers who work more than 27 hours a week is R10.59 an hour or R2,065.47 a month for those in major metropolitan areas, and R9.30 an hour or R1,812.57 a month for those in the rest of the country.

This is an increase of a little less than R1 an hour for workers in metropolitan areas and R1 an hour for other workers.

The minimum for domestic workers who work 27 hours or less is R12.40 an hour in metropolitan areas and R10.98 an hour in the rest of the country.

SADSAWU had called for a minimum of R2,500 a month in all areas.

Witbooi said the one rand an hour would not make much difference to the lives of domestic workers.

“We do appreciate it, but if you look at the reality, what does one rand extra an hour do? Look at transport costs, food and so on,” said Witbooi.

“We are still demanding that domestic workers earn the same amount, whether in rural or urban areas, because they do the same work. We are determined to make sure it happens.

“if we need to protest for the Minister to hear us then we will do it.”

“We are still the lowest wage earners in this country. There is a lot of work to be done,” said Witbooi.

Nomthandazo Keli, a domestic worker and mother of two, said the minimum wage adjustment meant nothing to her as she was earning below the minimum wage. She earns R1,800 a month in a metropolitan area.

“I have two children that I have to support and have to pay for transport to go to work.”

“What is R2,065.47? Yes the extra R200 would be nice, but it still wouldn’t be enough for me,” said Keli.

TOPICS:  Economy Labour

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