earningsFinancial Mail reports that government is to create a panel of seven academic experts to try and resolve, by October, the impasse over the introduction of a national minimum wage (NMW).  

After 18 months of negotiations, the parties in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) are deadlocked, with labour favouring a NMW of around R3,500/month, business arguing for R1,800/month and government somewhere between the two.  Their task hasn’t been made easier by two of SA’s top universities producing large bodies of diametrically opposed research.  Wits researchers maintain a NMW set at a meaningful level between R3,500 and R4,600 a month could spur growth.  Yet, UCT research finds that a NMW of R3,400 could cause more than 500,000 job losses, even under moderate assumptions.  The main reason for the different conclusions is that the researchers use completely different economic modelling techniques.  The panel’s job will be to make sense of the conflicting research to enable government to choose that benign level for an NMW, where the protection of workers’ wages is balanced against the need to prevent job losses.

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