[DEBATE] : (Fwd) SA workers screwed by labour market
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Mon May 19 05:24:31 BST 2008
16 May 2008
Minister defends labour market
CAPE TOWN — Far from the labour market being too rigid, as critics have
claimed, it was tilting towards being too flexible as the workforce was
experiencing increasing insecurity, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana
said in his budget vote speech in the National Assembly yesterday.
Workers were having to work longer for less pay and with fewer benefits.
To support his case, the minister noted that half of the workforce of
about 13-million was in casual and temporary jobs. Of these, 5,8-million
were not covered by unemployment insurance, 2,7-million did not have
written contracts and 4,1-million did not have paid leave entitlements.
Mdladlana referred to research by the University of Cape Town
Development Policy Research Unit which showed that, between 2000 and
2005, there had been an increase of 1,5 hours in the number of hours
worked, to 49,1 hours a week. Women were working nearly two hours longer
“How can our labour market be rigid when half of our workers do not even
belong to a trade union? More sadly, how can we complain about labour
market rigidity when our workers continue to die daily in our workplaces
— last year alone, 332 died in their places of work,” the minister said .
“If the truth be told, the balancing act that we have always professed
between security and flexibility is getting out of balance. It is
tilting in favour of flexibility.”
Mdladlana said bargaining councils were struggling and remained
relatively weak and unrepresentative at national level, “yet people
continue to complain about centralised collective agreements that scare
investors; it does not tally”.
In the face of these labour conditions, workers were becoming
increasingly restless, he said. This was clear from the fact that since
2003, working days lost to strikes increased from 79 days lost per 1000
employees to 753 last year.
The minister announced the intention of the labour department to double
inspections of JSE- listed companies to ensure compliance with their
employment equity legislation.
More information about the Debate-list