S & P have warned us that unless we get our labour situation correct we run the extreme risk when the next review is due in December 2016.
We cannot continue doing the same thing and expect to see different results. Our government appears to be ignoring the fact that the way our labour laws and regulations are structured have a large influence on the negativity of job creation.
We need to tackle the labour environment from a fresh angle and to look at A-typical forms of employment without destroying the golden thread that runs through our Labour Relations Act. We have almost nine million people currently unemployed and it is necessary for us to create an enabling environment for small businesses to in turn create these jobs. The majority of the affected unemployed people are typically young, from previously disadvantaged communities and have never been previously employed. These people desperately require some form of training either on the job or through education. There is a need to have a careful look at the restrictive costly and onerous labour legislation, which has to a large degree been a driving force in creating the situation. Businesses are doing everything in their power to avoid creating employment and to mechanise. It is also necessary for us to look at labour productivity and the high levels of wage demands and wage settlements.
Clearly, we need to explore methods of enabling the unskilled and semi-skilled workers. The obvious choice is to look at the small business sector and in particular the small business sector within the previously disadvantaged business community. This business community would happily engage employees in order to strengthen their businesses if they could be given the assurances that these employees are not governed by the various onerous wage determinations and that there would be no recourse if it was necessary to either downsize or dismiss these employees. Unfortunately, because of the onerous labour legislation we are seeing the phenomenon of jobless growth in South Africa.
If we could support A-typical employment such as temporary employment, contract work, labour broking and sub-contracting we would enable the small businesses to take the risk of employing more staff and if necessary to shrink their businesses without enormous liability of permanent employment. A-typical employment has enabled most of the industrial world to structure itself to meet the ebb and flow of economic realities. We have had a move in South Africa to try and ban outsourcing and contract work which has unfortunately created the sentiment of negativity as shown by the business community.
We need to be able to match the global business community on both the productivity front and the wage front. We, like all other countries, face seasonal peaks for every type of business and it is necessary to enable that business to be able to create more employment during those seasons. If we are able to employ people during the seasonal peak this will allow these people to at least earn a living during this time and more importantly to gain the skills to enable them to find permanent full time employment.