Cosatu seeks clarity on decent jobs
Johannesburg - Cosatu is to seek clarification from the African National Congress on reports that it was backtracking on its stated intention to create "decent work".
"If it is being correctly reported, its obviously a cause concern," Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Wednesday.
"We support the ANC policy from its resolution in Polokwane and the 2009 election manifesto in which decent work was one of the priority areas."
The reported about-turn by the ANC was based on comments by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Monday.
Asked at a news briefing whether the jobs created in the ruling party's current employment-drive would be decent, Mantashe said this would be "putting the cart before the horse".
"Our view is that jobs must be created. Once created, then those people can engage on conditions of employment," Mantashe said.
Craven said Cosatu would ask the ANC for "clarification" on the matter during talks between the allies.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu denied on Wednesday the ruling party was backtracking on its "decent work" stance.
"We are saying we must create jobs and that is what is important. Decency can be negotiated once they (the unemployed) are in those jobs. We have a labour regime where people cannot be exploited in a work environment," he said.
He said the labour regime already in place would protect workers.
"It is not regression. Now, having dealt with the work environment we have to deal with creating work."
Labour laws, basic conditions of employment and minimum salary scales were already in place in most sectors - even the lowest paying, he said.
"Decency is already there in the environment, people who get jobs get into a decent working environment.
He added: "Our people are there and all they are asking is can you give me work, they don't qualify it with decent.
"We are getting lost in semantics that do not do anything to what's most important for our people. They want jobs, they want work, not semantics.
"Indeed, we agree that there is nothing as indecent as being unemployed... when you don't have work, you can't think of an environment that is decent."