NEWS
08/02/2017 06:39 GMT | Updated 08/02/2017 14:31 GMT

Cosatu's Not Ready To Sign The Minimum Wage Deal, But Fedusa Says Ramaphosa Already Has

There's confusion about the new R20-per-hour wage agreement reached on Tuesday at Nedlac.

The signing-in ceremony for the minimum wage deal that was due to take place on Tuesday had to be postponed indefinitely when it emerged that Cosatu was still not happy with the package, Business Day reported on Wednesday.

But News24 reported also on Wednesday that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa already signed the deal. The site quoted general secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) Dennis George as saying it was a done deal.

The presidency released a statement on Wednesday saying details on the status of the agreement would be provided "later in the day".

The minimum wage deal, finalised at R20 per hour, was announced this week and was thought to have closed the door on the issue after two years of negotiations between business, labour and government.

According to Business Day, Cosatu said on Tuesday that it needed to report back to its central executive committee meeting on February 27 before the deal could be signed. "... depriving Zuma of an opportunity to gloat at Thursday's State of the Nation Address," the paper noted.

And the presidency announced on the same day that it would postpone the signing due to Cosatu's request to delay the agreement.

According to the paper, there are still three issues which Cosatu is not happy with: the issue of working ours, the annual increase in the minimum wage and medium-term targets.

Business Day said the R20-per-hour wage was not at issue for Cosatu, which said in November the initial proposal of R3,500 per month was a "significant starting point".

But the new agreement did not speak to annual increases for the minimum wage, and Cosatu reportedly wants clear timelines on this.

While Cosatu still has its reservations about these and other issues in the agreement, Business Day says there was "also an element of political manoeuvring" in its decision not to sign the agreement at the last minute.

The paper quoted "insiders" who said the process was rushed so that Zuma could make an announcement during the Sona address. Cosatu has backed deputy president Ramaphosa for ANC president.