Whilst the labour market is burning, it has been a quiet period on the labour law development front, with Parliament attending to the ceremonial aspects of starting the year. We are informed though that the LRA will be debated at the National Assembly next week and we will keep you updated on developments.

There have been a number of proposals made in the budget speech as well as the State of the Nation Address and the launch of the ANC Manifesto.

Included in these proposals are :

  • The Labour Minister introducing a proposal to extend unemployment benefits to a full year, if people actively seek work.
  • Government funding announced for 6-million job opportunities (not jobs but opportunities through the EPWP)
  • Finalisation and implementation of the Employment Tax Incentive Bill

It is interesting that in a State which requires jobs at the least burden on the tax payer, 2 of the above mentioned proposals will be supplemented from the tax payers’ pocket whilst the last one has received endless objections from the ruling party’s alliance partner, COSATU (Refer to detail of marches and protest action in previous GBS communications).

The mining sector and education have again delivered in terms of strike action. It is sad to see how quickly unions take their members on strike. Union officials go home to a pay cheque whilst their  members are on a no work no pay situation which statistically they may never truly recover from (e.g. the Municipal workers’ strike of a few years back).

It has recently been reported that Aveng paid dearly for labour disruptions. Direct cost to Grinaker-LTA amounted to almost R100m. Moneyweb reported that Labour disruptions cost construction group Aveng (JSE:AEG) R140m in the six months to December 31 2013, up from R115m in first half of the previous financial year.

And this is just one example of many. When will those in decision making positions realize that we need to create an environment conducive to fair business trade. If we don’t do it, some other host country will.

A year or two ago 300 000 private sector jobs were created in the private sector in the United States. There are lessons to learn from this. To fully flourish, the labour market needs to be conducive for entrepeneurs, small and big business to hire people in the private sector. Whilst public service employment is welcome, inevitably it is you and me paying for it and it does not develop the economy.

Let us hope that the light is seen before it is too late.

Enjoy the attached case law as well. It will prove for interesting reading.

Till next time.
Johnny and Grant