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New minimum wage in South Africa

message posted 26-Jul-07 11:44:38
We here at ChefsWorld would like to know from Chefs on how this will really affect Chefs ?

Why is the SACA having a moan, are they really looking out for chefs ?

New wage legislation governing minimum wages in the hospitality industry came into force on July 1st and it has not received a warm welcome in all quarters. Both the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) and the South African Chefs Association (SACA) were not best pleased. This was less to do with the figures involved, although some claim they will either cut jobs or raise costs (or both), but more due to the fact that there was no communication or warning about the proposed changes from government. So, grumblers say, the industry could not plan for the changes as they were given only six weeks notice of the new legislation, which was announced in mid May. But Rahman Murtuza, Director of Cape Town’s new and comprehensive Gaming & Hospitality Academy, believes that the legislation is more than overdue. Building on his contention that the previous pay structures were a recipe for slavery, Murtuza rebuffs industry mutterings with the assertion that minimum wages will promote greater business efficiency and improved staff motivation.

“If the new legislation does reduce numbers, as some commentators predict, then at least those that remain will be better compensated and, one hopes, better looked after and trained. The real issue in the Hospitality Industry is lack of training. Service standards – at whatever level, from waitron to maitre d – must improve for us to continue to compete in world tourism markets. When people come here and experience our generally low levels of service, it is a nail in the coffin of a future visit or recommendation to visit.”

Of particular concern to the government in the hospitality sector (and other sectors like security, construction and domestic help) has been the casualisation of employment, allowing employers to avoid a range of legislated benefit commitments such as sick pay and training. Now the ‘casual’, i.e. an employee working for three days or less per week, should become extinct. Instead, anyone working for an establishment for more than 24 hours a month will become an employee. And, as such, their training should no longer be considered superfluous but, rather, worth the investment of time and money to make an establishment more efficient.

As Murtuza concludes: “It is simply a matter of paying people a living wage, which will automatically raise standards in the industry as a result. With 2010 fast approaching, we have to be in a position to service the needs of an overseas public who have, in the main, been used to much higher levels of service than South Africa has provided to date. Yes, some businesses may close, but this is because they were not being run and staffed efficiently in the first place.”

The Gaming & Hospitality Management Academy is set to offer the very platform required to further educate the gaming and hospitality sectors. It will cover areas such as Gaming, IT, Food & Beverage, Front Office, Kitchen and Human Resources – which lies, of course, at the core of all service industries.

And then, who knows, maybe even the South African public, let alone our visitors, will be prepared to pay a bit more for better service with a smile, rather than the slapdash service with a sigh we receive at the moment?


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