It must be borne in mind that Nedlac itself has no legislative powers. This minimum wage of twenty rand per hour is a recommendation from the social partner’s i.e. big business, big labour and government. This recommendation still has a long path to travel.
The recommendation will be sent through to Parliament who will request the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour to debate the issue and to make recommendations to Parliament. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee will then commence on the long road to consultation with the public and for input from civil society. There will also be input from the various trade unions including the independent trade unions. More importantly there will be input from small business and in particular the various chambers of commerce who might think very differently from the representation of large business at Nedlac.
The submissions to the Labour Portfolio Committee of Parliament will be taken into account when the Committee itself deliberates on the recommendation from Nedlac. These deliberations could foreseeably take many months and only then will a recommendation be sent from this portfolio committee to Parliament. Parliament will debate the issue and is not bound to accept the recommendations of Nedlac, nor is Parliament bound to accept the recommendations of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour. Over and above this once Parliament has voted on a national minimum wage this will in all likelihood be sent to the National Council of Provinces who will likewise consult and debate. In essence, the recommendations from Nedlac have a long road to travel.
It must be borne in mind that when Nedlac agreed on various issues with regard to the amendments to The Labour Relations Act the agreement at Nedlac was overturned in Parliament where it was found that one of the social partners pushed the ANC to undermine everything that had been agreed.
There are other issues, which have been debated, and consensus has been reached at Nedlac and these issues will likewise be sent on the same path as described above. Although it has been mooted that the twenty rand per hour should take effect in 2018, I envisage that it will take longer than the expectations as outlined by Nedlac.