Welcome to the next edition of the labour newsflash.

We’d like to start by thanking everyone who attended the Mid-Year Labour Law Update in the various regions for your support.

As always, it was a great pleasure to see familiar faces as well as welcome new attendees to the fold.

Sadly the labour market in South Africa is at an ever declining low ebb. One cannot read your daily paper without finding headlines about job losses and high wage increases.

Reports have it that government and labour are set to organise a summit to discuss ways to retain and create jobs in the tough current economic climate. Apparently a 10-person committee, consisting of ministers and two representatives each from the three largest labour federations, will arrange the summit.  A date for the event has not yet been set.

Business Day reports that the University of Johannesburg’s research on public protests up to 2013 reaffirmed the general opinion that SA has one of the highest global incidences of labour instability. The research indicated that Labour protests were the most common reason for crowd forming which at 46%, is more than twice that of community-based protests (including service delivery) at 22.1%. Community protests are however more likely to be disorderly than labour protests.

In the midst of this, consumer inflation has unexpectedly slowed to 6.1% in May while the expectations of unions in particular remain persistently high.  Wage negotiations in several sectors are well underway and it will be interesting to see where parties settle.

The latest Salary Trends Survey conducted by ECA International indicate that companies in SA are forecasting pay increases of 6.9% this year, based on inflation forecasts of 5.9%.

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