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Three Q&A's you NEED to know about wage increases

by , 22 August 2015
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Unions who represent workers at various South African coal producers have dismissed a wage offer from the Chamber of Mines.
Here, workers demanded a 15% wage increase while the Chamber of Mines (who represents mines such as Glencore and Anglo American Coal) proposed a three-year wage deal in which it would increase pay between 4 to 6.5%.

Glencore had announced last month that it would cut hundreds of jobs and close part of its Optimum mine because of lower coal prices.

In light of this news on wage increases, here are three Q&A's, around the issue of wage increases for your own employees, that you should take note of:


Do you HAVE to pay your employees an annual salary increase? 


In short, no. You aren't obliged in anyway way to provide your employees with annual increases. You don't even have to negotiate it, unless: 

Your employment contracts state that you will; 
You have a collective agreement with a trade union; 
A bargaining council agreement or sectoral determination decides that you must.

If none of the above-mentioned points apply to you, then it is completely up to you to decide. 

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Must you still give an employee a salary increase if you're downsizing? 


You can't change the employee's contractual right to an increase. 

But, if you are going through financial problems, you be legally required to discuss measures with your employees in order to avoid retrenching them. 


Is it compulsory to negotiate salary increases annually? 


Legally speaking, you don't have to negotiate annual wage increases. But if it's a collective agreement with a trade union (or if it's in your employee's contracts), then you will have to do so.
So, there you have it! There are three important Q&A's to take note of when it comes to wage increases.

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