Cosatu shocked by latest unemployment figures

2013-05-08 11:45

The latest unemployment figures released by Statistics SA (Stats SA) are demoralising, trade union federation Cosatu has said.

“It is absolutely shocking and demoralising to see that if this trend persists we shall not only fail to meet government’s target of creating 5 million new jobs between 2010 and 2020, but end up with loss of jobs over those 10 years,” Cosatu said in a statement.

It felt “vindicated” by reports that employment in private households recorded a growth of 29 000 in the first quarter of the year, it said.

Employment in the agricultural sector grew by 54 000 jobs.

“The increase in jobs in the agricultural sector has shown that where there is an increase in wages or when minimum wages are set at a reasonable level, they have no significant employment effect one way or the other.”

Stats SA released the latest unemployment figures from its Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) on Monday.

It found that the number of unemployed increased by 100 000 people to 4.6 million between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

This took the country’s official unemployment rate to 25.2%, from 24.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Cosatu called for a legislated national minimum wage.

“This legislated national minimum wage must cover all workers and ensure the abolition of the existing ineffective system of sectoral determinations, and the introduction of comprehensive, legislated centralised bargaining.”

It said macroeconomic policies needed to be overhauled to bring about the “radical economic shift” needed to deal with unemployment, poverty and inequality.

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