The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) calls for a minimum wage of R2500 for domestic workers per month; and calls on the Minister of Labour, the Department of Labour and the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC) to move beyond the mechanical approach of using CPI plus two percent to a new methodology of taking the actual circumstances of domestic workers into consideration. FEDUSA is of the opinion that CPI is not a true reflection of the actual inflation that is experienced by domestic workers, as privately owned profit-driven minibus taxis are quick to increase fees when fuel prices increase but never reduce fees when fuel prices decrease, said Dennis George FEDUSA General Secretary.
More than 652 000 domestic workers are registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) – but FEDUSA is of the opinion that many employers of domestic workers have not registered for unemployment insurance for domestic workers.
FEDUSA recognise and acknowledge that many families are paying domestic workers more than the minimum wage and also provide in some cases accommodation and meals. The Federation is also grateful and deeply appreciative that some families also provide other support to our domestic workers in the form of education, funeral policies, provident fund contributions and medical expenses. FEDUSA values the contribution that domestic workers make to economic development, as they are an extension of our families. An increasing number of women have entered the labour market and this has created a huge demand for a person to provide support for families where both parents are working. Without this valuable economic contribution of domestic workers, progress would not be possible for many working families in our country, and these workers are also sometimes even required to walk our children to school and back.
FEDUSA argues that it is therefore imperative for employers of domestic workers to discuss the socio-economic concerns of their workers when determining decent remuneration and benefits, as we move beyond the mechanical approach of using the average inflation. Employers should rather utilise the actual transport cost of their domestic workers to determine the decent salary moving beyond the current minimum wage. These gestures will greatly contribution to eradicate poverty and inequality – and build and strengthen social cohesion and nation building, said George.
FEDUSA was part of the official delegation of government, labour and business to the International Labour Conference – where the International Labour Organisation Convention 189 and Recommendation 201 (Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers) were negotiated and adopted. The Federation calls on Parliament to ratify these international instruments to ensure the human rights, decent working conditions and privacy of domestic workers are respected in South Africa, concluded George.
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FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.