ANC committed to ‘decent jobs’ despite Mantashe’s views

2011-01-22 17:29

The ANC is unlikely to drop its push for “decent jobs” despite ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s views that massive job creation may require the ruling party to compromise.

Mantashe suggested this week that the ANC would aim to create jobs, but not necessarily “decent jobs” as it had promised in its election manifesto.

The ruling party and its government wants to create five million jobs by 2020 to reduce official unemployment from 25% to 15%.

But such a proposal was likely to meet strong opposition from within the ruling party and its alliance.

Sdumo Dlamini, president of ­labour federation Cosatu, said there was “consensus within the alliance on decent jobs”, saying President Jacob Zuma’s January 8 statement had emphasised that point.

“We don’t think we have to change the language on decent jobs. We noted what was said by the ANC after the lekgotla.

We take that comment as a comment that doesn’t change the statement of the ANC on decent work.

Because if that is the case, it will require a discussion (within the alliance),” said Dlamini.

The International Labour ­Organisation defines decent work as “productive work under conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity in which rights are protected and adequate remuneration and social coverage are ­provided”.

A source who attended the ANC national executive committee ­lekgotla, where job creation and the New Growth Path were ­discussed last week, said no ­discussion about the need to do away with the concept of decent jobs took place.

“Our understanding was that we were discussing the creation of ­decent jobs.

“So the issue (of whether to drop the idea of decent jobs) never came up because we thought we were advancing Polokwane resolutions,” said the source.

An ANC NEC member said Mantashe was probably expressing his personal view as the ANC leadership’s stance had not changed.

However, Mantashe was adamant that it was up to the country’s employment laws to provide ­protection for workers.

He said it was impossible to force employers to guarantee long-term employment in advance as different sectors of the economy worked differently.

“How decent is the work of being not employed? Labour laws regulate employment and employment conditions. If you are not employed these laws mean nothing to you,” he said.

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said only the ruling party’s policy conference next year could review the 2007 Polokwane resolutions.

“We will never agree to brutal ­exploitation of workers simply ­because they are desperate for ­employment.

Attempts to limit the rights of workers who are in desperate need of jobs were contemptuously rejected in the 2005 NGC of the ANC in Pretoria, and we’ll never agree with anything that takes us back to that era,” he said.

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