Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's speech on the state of the nation this week must prioritise job creation, Cosatu said on Monday.
"Last year we urged the president to pay particular attention to policies to reverse the catastrophic loss of 959 000 jobs in the first nine months of 2009 ... jobs continued to disappear, bringing the total loss since the start of 2009 until the last quarter of 2010 to 1.17 million," the trade union federation said.
Job creation therefore had to be addressed in the speech, just as it was at the ANC and government lekgotlas.
"We have welcomed the publication of the new growth path document and hope that the government has noted Cosatu's response and that the speech will take on board the improvements to the policy we are recommending," said Cosatu.
It also expected Zuma to announce a radical shift in the government and Reserve Bank's "hitherto conservative fiscal and monetary policy" and rigid obsession with inflation targeting.
Cosatu said it hoped that Zuma would use his state of the nation address to quash rumours that the government was moving away from the clear ANC policy for decent work.
It also expected Zuma to "clarify" his plans to strengthen the labour laws so that workers were better protected from exploitation, poverty pay and unfair dismissal, and were able to work in a safe and healthy environment.
Cosatu said a report from the Adcorp Employment Index showed that, while jobs overall had declined by an annualised 2.41% by November 2010, the number of permanent workers had decreased most - by 2.74% - while the number of temporary workers decreased by only 1.60%.
The number of "agency" workers (ie those employed by labour brokers) had increased by 5.59%.
"The survey shows that there are nearly 100 000 more labour broker workers than previously estimated.
"They now represent 6.8% of total employment and 23.2% of the country's temporary and part-time workforce. This is having a devastating, negative effect on the levels of pay, job security and benefits for thousands of workers."
Cosatu said it looked forward to Zuma rejecting the idea of a youth employment subsidy, which would lead to a further erosion of wages and conditions and mass retrenchments of workers once they reached the age limit for the subsidy.
It also wants the speech to include announcements on improvements in education; dates for the implementation of the national health insurance scheme; improvements in rural development, food security and land reform; and initiatives in the fight against crime and corruption.