Original Research

A comparison of actual and minimum wages in the iron and steel industry (1978-1983)

I. B. Hipkin
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 21, No 1/2 | a915 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v21i1/2.915 | © 2018 I. B. Hipkin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 October 2018 | Published: 31 March 1990

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I. B. Hipkin, Department of Business Science, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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In 1983 two million employees in South Africa were subject to minimum wages in terms of industrial council or wage board legislation. Studies of wage determination have been hampered by the lack of knowledge of actual wage rates. This paper compares the wage rates as laid down by the Industrial Council for the Iron. Steel, Engineering and Metallurgical Industry with the wages contained in a national salary survey, the latter representing 'actual' market wages. A job evaluation system has been used as the basis of comparison between the minimum and market rates. Both minimum and actual wages display similar characteristics in that the lowest levels have received the greatest (real) increases over the period under consideration. The upper skilled levels have seen a decrease in wages in real terms, with increases in actual wages being lower than the rates at which the minimum rates have increased. Explanations are sought both from an economic and a socio-political point of view.


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