On Tuesday 21 February, the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) gazetted the new minimum wage for 2023. The DEL has set the minimum wage at R25.42, 9.6% (CPI + 2%) higher than the 2022 wage of R23.19.
In September 2022, the DEL invited interested and affected parties to provide input to the National Minimum Wage Commission (NMWC) determination for 2023. FSA made a submission motivating for an increase linked to CPI. We further recommended that the Commission consider a CPI based increases for 2024 and 2025 to provide some certainty to employers on this importance element of their cost structures. FSA sited that the above inflation increases in the minimum wage for forestry since 2012 resulted in significant consequences to the Sector. This placed a lot of pressure on the industry deliver on their commitments in the PPGI and the Sector Masterplan.
The majority of the NMW Commission were in favour of a CPI + 2% increase, which was gazetted on the 15th of December, whereafter DEL subsequently invited a second round of written representation. FSA made a follow-up submission, again, motivating for a maximum increase of CPI and pleaded to Commission to consider the current economic climate the country is facing due to lack of energy supply and continues increase in loadshedding as well as the infinities currently experienced in rail and ports.
However, on the 21st of February, the department of employment and labour published the new minimum wage for 2023, set at R25.42, which is 9.6% (CPI + 2%) higher than the 2022 wage of R23.19. It is unfortunate that the announced increase is not in line with FSA and other industry representatives’ submissions.