FULL-TIME Port Elizabeth domestic workers have laughed off the 49c per hour increase announced by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
The minimum wage increase, which kicks in on the first day of next month, also includes housekeepers, gardeners and nannies.
“In terms of the sectorial determination, the minimum wages will be adjusted,” Oliphant said yesterday.
In major metropolitan areas, domestics who work more than 27 hours a week will earn an hourly rate of R11.44. This is up from R10.95.
If the domestic works eight hours a day for an entire 22 working days a month she should now earn R2 013.44.
Domestic workers who work fewer than 27 hours a week in major metros should get an hourly rate of R13.39 or R107 a day. Full-time domestics not working in major metropolitan areas should receive an hourly rate of R10.23.
If those domestic workers work eight hours a day for the entire 22 working days a month they should now earn R1 800.48.
Those working for fewer than 27 hours a week should get R12.07 an hour or R96.56 a day.
South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers’ Union general secretary Eunice Dhladhla slammed the “petty” increase yesterday.
The union has 10 000 members signed up in South Africa, but none in Port Elizabeth.
“It’s too little compared to the hard work done by our members,” Dhladhla said.
She called on the government to increase the wage to about R4 000 a month for full-time domestics.
“There are a few employers who pay their domestic workers this amount, but the majority are languishing at about R1 000 a month.
“How do you expect [them] to earn a living on such a meagre salary?”
She said most domestics were too scared of their employers to join a union. But Dhladhla urged domestics to insist on a written contract.
“You can obtain a contract from the Labour Department. Without it, domestic workers are compelled to do all sorts of odd jobs, such as cleaning cars, walking dogs and gardening.”
Dhladhla also urged employers to apply for the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Andisiwe Mango, 38, of Motherwell, described the increase as pathetic and laughable.
“As a black woman herself, the minister must be familiar with the hardships we endure, ” she said.
The mother of three, who works full-time and earns R1 500 a month, said she battled every day to get money for bus fare.
A Kwazakhele woman, 49, who did not want to be named, said the announcement was meaningless.
“We work hard in the suburbs and I am not satisfied.”
Zandile Jonasi, 40, of KwaDwesi, said: “It’s obvious we will be having a black Christmas, while everyone else enjoys their bonus.”
The mother of two said she earned just more than R2 000 a month. But this was not enough for looking after two children and cleaning a house.
Labour Department spokesman Mokgadi Pela said the minister had considered the issue of affordability.