SA HR news roundup: SARA exec calls for a living wage, retrenchments expected at Post Office


Workers injured during wage protest at Makro.

South African Reward Association executive committee member Mark Bussin says employers should pay workers a living wage or between R12,000 to R15,000 per month. The South African Post Office begins plans to start another round of retrenchments as the state-owned entity looks to cut costs, while workers are injured during protest action at Makro in Germiston. Meanwhile, Forge Academy and Labs opens applications for a 5G learnership programme.

Applications open for 5G learnership programme

Forge Academy & Labs has opened applications for its paid-for learnership programme for youth from Johannesburg and Saldanha Bay.

The programme includes a 5G foundations and networking course developed by Nokia Bell Labs and will lay the foundations for critical 5G and cloud computing skills in high demand in the ICT sector.

In addition, a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) will expand the career development training of Forge’s students. The expanded curriculum will now teach AWS Cloud fundamentals, where learners will build Linux, Python, networking, security, and relational database skills.

Living wage vs minimum wage

Employers should pay workers a living wage – between R12,000 to R15,000 per month – not just the national minimum prescribed by law. This is according to Mark Bussin, executive committee member of the South African Reward Association (SARA).

He sees a living wage as remuneration sufficient for an individual and their family to have a frugal yet dignified lifestyle.

The current minimum wage is R23.19 per hour, which equals about R3,710 a month for a 40-hour work week.

“Workers who earn the minimum wage often still cannot afford basic monthly essentials and are woefully unprepared for financial misfortunes, like roof repairs or hospitalisation,” he said.

He added, “Low-income workers can’t survive on these amounts, and they are often forced to turn to unlicensed money lenders for additional cash to make up the shortfall.”

Workers injured during Makro wage protest

Workers affiliated to the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) were injured during a wage protest at Makro in Germiston last week.

The union is demanding a wage increase of 12 percent or R900, a minimum wage of R8,000, an increase in sales commissions, a uniform allowance and an increase in monthly working hours – as well as a 13th cheque for all employees.

Retrenchments expected at South African Post Office

The South African Post Office (SAPO) plans to embark on another round of retrenchments as it looks to further reduce expenses.

Some media reports indicate that up to 6,000 employees could be affected. It is understood that the state-owned enterprises salary costs account for 61 percent of its expenditure.

Unions have called for SAPO to look for alternate options and save jobs.

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