Remove ‘dispute’ from labour vocab and let’s talk – Cyril Ramaphosa

2014-09-05 14:09

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The word “dispute” must be removed from the vocabulary in labour-related matters, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

“Let us remove the word ‘dispute’ from our vocabulary and replace it with the word ‘negotiate’.

“Dialogue has become an important way of addressing our challenges,” he said.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) annual summit in Illovo, north of Joburg.

He said Nedlac reminded him of the days when he was general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and negotiating was the main form of solving labour-related problems in the sector.

South Africans were beginning to question which direction the country was headed.

“I always derive joy and strength from the fact that ... we’ve got a very strong and firm foundation. We achieved a great deal. Many nations envy the great results we have achieved in our country.”

He said poverty, unemployment and inequality were massive problems and mountains which still needed to be overcome.

“Inequality is the Mount Everest for us.”

Ramaphosa said any legislation that had a socioeconomic effect on the country went through Nedlac to be discussed or negotiated. But the forum did have its weakness, he said.

“It has had mixed success. There have been weaknesses and challenges ... Our task is far from complete.”

Growth was a necessity for social progress and South Africans wanted growth they could touch and feel, he said.

“We need to confront the monster of poverty and inequality. Inequality is an affront to the new democratic order.”

He said forums such as Nedlac were responsible for providing South Africans with good and better opportunities.

“No social partner can be left behind. We succeed or we fail, together.”

“We’ve got to move in unison as a nation, while we must proceed with urgency.”

The matter would be discussed more broadly at the labour indaba hosted by the government in November, Ramaphosa said.

“At the November labour relations indaba, all social partners are expected to present their proposals so that we can thoroughly and thoughtfully engage on this national minimum wage issue.”

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