Raising limits of minimum wage law will plunge jobless into deeper suffering

Xolile Mpini

Mon Feb 15 2021 08:37:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Though the argument put forward is about benefiting lower-income people, it discriminates against the unemployed while unfairly protecting only the employed

When the idea of a national minimum wage was first put forward, our members pleaded with parliament and the department of labour not to introduce it because it would put more low-wage earners out of jobs. We were ignored. They chose to listen to economists who told them the opposite — that if you force employers to pay higher wages they will employ more people. It doesn’t make sense. It is like saying that if you force a supermarket to charge more for eggs, they will sell more eggs.

Covid-19 has pushed unemployment over the 50% and 13-million mark. And now, under these conditions, in which employers are fighting for their lives, the department of employment & labour decides to force up the price of labour at the bottom of the labour market. Under these conditions do they seriously expect employers to employ more people? If that is what they believe they must be living in cloud cuckoo land.

What has been worse for the unemployed regarding finding a job: the increase in the minimum wage virus or the continuing evil of the Covid-19 virus? What do the unemployed do when there is no part of government that listens to their proposals on how to end the huge unemployment problem? What was previously called the department of labour is now called the department of employment & labour, as though the name change will magically improve conditions in the labour market when the policies don’t change to increase the chances of the unemployed getting jobs.

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