The capitalist bosses trot out the following arguments for the unequal pay for equal work that is in force globally:
1) Their labour is more skilled than ours;
2) Their labour is more productive than ours;
3) Their economies are more mechanised than ours;
4) It is more expensive to live in their countries than to live in South Africa; and,
5) Costs of prodution is prohibitively high in South Africa.
Let us debunk this nonsense once and for all,
1) Skilled labour.
Who is it that degrades work with sub-contractors and labour brokers in South Africa?
Who is it that refuses to train local labour and insists on exploiting illiterate and semi-literate migrant labour?
I know of thousands of matriculants in near mine communities who cannot get jobs on their neighbouring mines. They are usually told that they do not have “maths and science”, when 40% of the current labour force on mines are illiterate.
I have also met and interviewed countless you black geologists, mining engineers and other professionals who cannot get a job on the same mines.
I have also interviewed a number of young black professionals who were dismissed for speaking their mind on the job.
I have also met and interviewed many young black professionals who tell me that the first people to be retrenched in an economic down turn are young black professionals. We may safely speak of those who are entrenched and those who are easily retrenched.
2) Labour productivity.
There would not be an oversupply of platinum and other mineral commodities on global markets if South African workers were unproductive.
Of course the person who gets an income that is greater by a factor of ten than his counterpart for doing equal work, would be more productive.
South African workers have to put up with the most appalling living conditions, the fact that they are as productive as they are is a miracle.
Australian migrant workers work on a fly in, fly out basis, six days on and six days off, meaning that they work only two weeks out of every month yet they are many times more than their South African counterparts.
Australian mine workers live in subsidized suburban housing, they eat properly. In fact they eat to much. A few years ago the mining industry had to launch an obesity campaign on their mines.
Most mines in Australia are open cast and operate with exactly the same levels of mechanization as South Africa. Their is no difference in the skills requirements for a Volvo or Scania driver in Australia than there is in South Africa, ditto for graders and scoops. Yet an Australian truck driver can clear a million Rands in a year, his South African counterpart would struggle to clear R150 000.
4) Cost of living is higher
This is another nonsense argument. Ever since 1994 grain prices in South Africa have been determined by the Chicago Board of Trade for grain, i.e. wheat, maize, sunflower, soya etc. all key ingredients of food – thus determining food prices. We can therefore safely say that while wages have not been globalised. Food prices have. If you are a millionaire or a billionaire the cost of living is indeed low in South Africa. If you are one onf the 50% who earn less than R5000 per month it is not.
5) Costs of production
It is a complete myth to claim that costs of production is higher in South Africa. South Africa is closer to global markets than Australia. Labour costs are cheaper by a factor of ten. Corporate electricity consumption is highly subsidized by the state. Corporations exporting from South Africa pay their costs in Rands and make their profits in Dollars.
The next person who comes with these bullshit arguments will simply be chucked off my friends list. There are about 5000 people who want to come on.