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Vavi endorses new growth plan

Nov 25 2010 14:10 I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday that the government's new economic growth path framework released this week "accommodates" the trade federation.

The framework maps out how the government plans to create 5 million jobs over the next few years.

More attention will be placed on labour intensive sectors such as manufacturing and infrastructure.

The document also recognises the effects of the strong rand on some sectors, proposing looser monetary policy with lower interest rates and accumulation of more foreign reserves.

"There's indication that there would have been some serious compromises that were reached in order to take the process forward," Vavi told a media briefing.

"The sort of things that we have been raising for many years are now being accommodated, for example low interest rates for dealing with the rampant strength of the rand," he said.

Cosatu will meet its affiliate unions next month to discuss the framework, after which a consolidated view will be drawn up.
   
The framework was discussed at Cosatu's central executive committee meeting this week.

While the labour federation has welcomed the framework, it said it was worried about a few factors. 

It will measure the document against its own economic growth path released in September.

The macroeconomic policy framework that supports the new growth path and the proposals relating to wage moderation were identified as areas of concern.

The framework proposes a wage cap on salary and wage increases. It has called for discussion with business and labour, "for moderate wage settlements linked to clear commitments by business to save jobs, create new jobs and address inequality".

Moderating wage settlements will lead to even greater levels of income inequality,  Vavi said.
 
"If the unions in SA dare give a signal that we are prepared to moderate the wages of our workers the employers will move almost immediately to enforce that commitment," Vavi said.

"And yet if we agree that there must be a wage moderation that will include some executives to make sacrifices. We wonder if we will be able to succeed. What we'll end up with is that labour complies and they (employers) don't," he said.

The framework proposes a modest increase above inflation for employees earning between R3 000 and R20 000 per month.

Pay increases for workers earning under R3 000 would not be constrained, the document says, while increases for those earning above R20 000 to R45 000 per month would peg inflation.

High earners taking home over R45 000 per month would see increases below inflation or capped, the framework suggests.

It says that restraint in executive pay and bonuses will address excessive pay differentials and display solidarity across society.

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