CAPE TOWN, June 14 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's Parliament on Thursday invited the public to influence discussions on the controversial National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill and related legislation.
The National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, has approved the bill, which is now going to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), or upper house of Parliament, for approval.
All South Africans should make use of the opportunity to influence discussions on the NMW Bill and related legislation, the NOCP's Select Committee on Economic and Business Development said.
"The National Minimum Wage Bill will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of the poor," Committee Chairperson Mandla Rayi said.
With the NMW Bill, the current administration is seeking to protect those vulnerable workers whose suffering is not remunerated fairly in the workplace, said Rayi.
Issues around the introduction of a national minimum wage have been under consideration since an announcement was made during the 2014 State of the Nation Address by the then president Jacob Zuma. Parliament had since set in motion the legislative processes to see the realization of a national minimum wage.
The other pieces of legislation under consideration by the committee are the Labor Laws Amendment Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labor Relations Amendment Bill.
The committee will hold public hearings on June 19.
The South African government is pushing the NMW, which sets 3,500 rand (about 269 U.S. dollars) per month or 20 rand per hour for over 6 million working people.
But opponents say the working class can not make both ends meet with the meager NMW requirements.
Trade unions have lambasted the NMW as "slavery wage." In May, massive protests against the NMW took place across the country, and trade unions have threatened to stage more protests if the NMW is not raised to "living wage."
The government insists that the NMW was informed by the real world considerations and not some idealistic desires.
The NMW Bill, once approved by the NOCP, will go to the president who will sign it into law.