Find amicable way of resolving job impasse
THE STAND- OFF between the labour movement and government must be resolved as a matter of urgency.
We are at the precipice due to our economy being in a bad state. More than 2.2 million workers lost their jobs in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Statistics SA, labour force survey data shows that 640 000 of the 2.2 million job losses were in the informal sector with a further 311 000 in the domestic work sector.
This is catastrophic for a country like South Africa which has an unemployment rate of 42%.
The issue of the government reneging on the three- year agreement with public sector unions should have been handled differently. The government has an obligation to honour the spirit and letter of the agreement.
Failure to do that will send the wrong signals to other bargaining councils of various sectors. Labour relations allow for the exemption in the event a company can’t afford to pay the wages as agreed. However, there must be compelling reasons why they can’t pay, including financial disclosures confirming the dire situation of the company.
The government should also have compelling reasons for why it can’t pay the public sector workers while billions of rand are being squandered by government departments, municipalities and state- owned entities.
The government, under the auspices of the public service sector co- ordinating bargaining council, and the labour unions should find an amicable way of resolving the impasse rather than this tit- for- tat approach which resulted in the massive stayaway this week.
MAFIKA SIPHIWE MGCINA | SEDIBENG