Decent jobs, but not at long-term cost: minister

2011-01-24 10:29

Labour Minister Nelisiwe Oliphant added her voice to the debate on “decent work” today at the annual labour policy conference in Pretoria.

“Decent employment can only be successful when all stakeholders constantly keep in mind the context of the South African and global economies, social realities such as poverty, inequality and education levels, and the long terms goals for South Africa which must be weighed against short term costs,” she told delegates from organised labour – Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu.

“Our aim is to create a policy framework to promote decent work,” she said.

However, the “meaning of decent work” should include health and safety conditions of employees.

“When you talk about the workers that are working in a restaurant or a shop or whatever industry, you look at the health and safety under which those workers are working.”

She added: “Workers should be trained to use whatever precautionary measures when it comes to their own safety.

“A living wage, yes, at a later stage it’s going to be part of these things.”

Oliphant said the recession had led to the loss of another million jobs, leaving about 6.4 million South Africans unemployed.

“Job creation is now an overriding priority for government, and hopefully for our social partners as well. The key test of our policies will have to be their ability to contribute to job creation.

“To put it another way, we have to ensure that our policies do not have negative consequences for employment.”

She said the government wanted both “jobs and we must strive for decent work”.

The International Labour Organisation defines decent work as “productive work for men and women in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity”, she said.

“We need to start with productive work.”

She warned that although the economy was showing signs of recovery, it remained fragile and unemployment was still unacceptably high.

“Successful and effective social dialogue is the only solution – but more than ever, we all need to move away from an attitude of winning regardless of the collateral cost, to an attitude of joint consensus-seeking in the interest of all.”

President Jacob Zuma in his June 2009 state of the nation address said the “creation of decent workers will be at the centre of our economic policies”.

However, last week, ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, raised the ire of Cosatu when he said the party would push to create jobs first, then worry about decent jobs later.

The ANC Youth League also warned the ANC not to drop the criteria of decent jobs in favour of creating more employment.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said last week: “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.”

He said it would be “a cause for concern” if the ANC backtracked on this intention.

The ANC wants to create five million jobs in the next decade.?

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.