ILO: SA labour laws not too rigid

2012-08-06 09:18

Johannesburg - The International Labour Organisation (ILO) believes labour market regulations are not too rigid in South Africa and cannot be blamed for high unemployment, it was reported on Monday.

According to Business Day, in an interview last week ILO South African director Vic van Vuuren attributed unemployment to fragile economic conditions, skills mismatches and problems with education.

He was speaking after the African Development Bank claimed that labour regulations were "excessively rigid" and contributed to youth unemployment.

South Africa's unemployment rate was almost 25%, which equated to almost four-and-a-half million people out of work.

Van Vuuren said: "When we look at our labour laws and we analyse them and compare them to other best-practice countries, I don't think we have a rigid labour market that is preventing youth employment or employment in general".

However, the newspaper reported that Adcorp labour analyst Loane Sharp disagreed, and said the World Economic Forum rated South Africa's labour regulation as one of the world's worst.

Amendment Bills to the Labour Relations and the Basic Conditions of Employment Acts are being considered by Parliament's portfolio committee on labour.

"They're adding more regulation and what we need is less regulation.... (The amendments) are even more restrictive than the Labour Relations Act of the mid-1990s," Sharp said.

According to Business Day, Business Unity SA claimed the amendments, which could grant temporary workers equal rights to permanent staff, could lead to 215 150 job losses.


  • press.enter.12 - 2012-08-06 10:11

    Really the ILO thinks its OK - now can anyone think of a "more" objective commentator . . .

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-08-06 10:25

    Spot on ILO, refreshing to know that its coming from an institution who speaks after severe research not from some sections of our society who use emotions for their anti- gvt stance

      thepatrickwinter - 2012-08-06 10:31

      Emotions based on not being given enough food to lay the golden eggs they want for their distribution. Now whos speaking based on emotion.

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-08-06 14:44

      The ILO does not employ the masses. Businesses employ the masses. The ILO can scream from the mountain tops till they go red in the face, but the reality is that many business are not employing because of restrictive labour laws. You are not even allowed to fire an incompetent person anymore. Hell, even government employees who are guilty of unspeakable crimes against SA citizens are using their rights to our taxes to take their appeals to their dismissals all the way to the constitutional court. The government has hundreds, if not thousands, of employees on paid special leave pending all of these costly court hearings. That's how restrictive our labour laws are - even the institution that drafted the laws cannot fire incompetants because of those laws. That is not emotion - that is fact.

  • thepatrickwinter - 2012-08-06 10:28

    The problems they point out are true, but if we sorted out the labour act, the people that make the difference will see the benefit. Try it and and see what happens. Like a magic trick. Easy to say for the guy in the cornner office on the 100th floor.

  • denny.cray - 2012-08-06 13:22

    You can get an opinion from anyone. You could also draw your own conclusions from the situation presented to you. Government wants small business to employ more people. Speak to small business owners and get their take on matters. It really shouldn't be all that controversial - unless you decide that it is a political matter.

      gordon.trevat - 2012-08-06 15:31

      As a small business owner, I will not employ more people as in my actual experience it is a ridiculously expensive exercise. Training costs, labour consultant costs, reputation damage, time and energy to manage someone who seemed so promising, yet becomes the laziest person on earth once actually employed. In my book, the biggest reason for unemployment is an attitude of entitlement. The current labour laws just don't allow my small business sufficient capacity to provide these guys with an opportunity to either become superstars or lazy and crippling, as a few expensive lazy ones could literally cause the business to collapse. Would we give more employment opportunities if we could REASONABLY get rid of someone who showed lots of potential but turned out to be lazy and not-a-good-fit for our business? Yes. Before throwing in the comments on how easy this is, please bear in mind how much time, energy and resources a small business actually has to effectively monitor and coach someone to evaluate their performance 100% according to the current labour laws.

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