The Running Commentary

We need a competitive labour system to be successful

Far more eloquent commentators than I have been, for some time now, banging the drums around the fact that the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Fundamental questions need to be asked of our leaders, ones that need to take the forefront of any political discussion.  We cannot continue to see this gap increasing, else we will reach a point at which the “masses” will simply say, enough is enough.

We cannot continue to see the level of unemployment growing at the rate that it is currently doing. It is the single biggest curse facing our country. Forget about the HIV pandemic, which is wracking our country, controversial as it may seem for me to say so. The advances in medicine mean that people afflicted with this illness are able to be active participants in the economy for generations. All we need is for the government to make them readily available.

Our focus on job creation needs to be an imperative. The labour laws as they currently stand need to be amended in order to ensure that they are conducive to job creation.  My position is that legislation protecting the worker need not cause a halt employment. It is no good introducing a youth employment incentive scheme on the one hand, while at the same time having legislation in place which makes the employer think twice about employing the person.

In a world of increased competition, where even the “leader of the free world” is calling for business and labour to be more competitive, our current legal framework, is causing our high rate of unemployment. If it is your intention to grow your country, you need a majority of gainfully employed, not a minority of high earners.

I am not advocating a socialistic point of view, far from it. If people choose to work, for a wage that is lower than the legislated rate, then surely they should be given the freedom to so do. In the spirit of Ubuntu, when a collective of workers decide to work for lower wages as a way of ensuring their companies survival, then why should this not be allowed?

Come now Mr Zuma, it is time for you to make policy that is employment friendly. Create a competitive work force, one that flourishes with the pride that comes with having a job.

CompetitionEmploymentJobsLabour LawLegislationSouth AfricaZuma

Mike • March 4, 2011

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