Johannesburg - The ANC says Cosatu was "disrespectful and contemptuous" when it characterised Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
as "reactionary" and being "part of a rightwing lobby" for expressing a view on dealing with the challenge of unemployment.
The temptation to label people does not assist in constructively engaging in debates and finding solutions to the challenges facing our country, the ANC said on Friday.
It said that Cosatu needed to be reminded it was Gordhan who had said: "This will be done in the awareness of the bitter struggle fought against apartheid for human rights, decent work and decent wages." He also said: "We are not going to lose what we have gained through hard struggles."
Said the ruling party: "The ANC would like to remind Cosatu that Minister Gordhan is not a newcomer or a new leader in the ranks of the progressive movement. Contrary to what Cosatu perceives, his views on the review of labour laws are not informed by the desire to weaken the gains that have been made in the crafting of progressive laws in South Africa.
"Comrade Gordhan is merely asking all of us how we can ensure that the youth who have no work experience, can access such experience and what the labour cost of accessing such experience in order to become employable, should be.
"This is at the core of the suggestion of what has been termed state youth wage subsidy for those companies who will work with government to ensure that the youth access the necessary experience through employment," the ANC said.
It added that if Cosatu had a workable solution and a proposal with regard to unemployment, particularly the vexing question of youth unemployment and the lack of the necessary skills demanded by the labour environment, it was the ANC's belief that the federation should have put such a proposal on the table.
"The ANC welcomes the discussion that is before Nedlac with regard to labour bills and the mooted three-year R5bn youth wage subsidy. We equally welcome the cabinet's correct assertion that matters that relate to labour are the core mandate of the department of labour.
"It would also be helpful for Cosatu - on any issue that they do not agree with - from either the ANC or its government, to make effective use of the structures of engagement that the entire alliance has put into place. Those structures were put in place - among others - to deal with such matters, so that Cosatu or any other alliance partner does not resort to insults and name-calling through the media," the ANC said.