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Inside Labour: The scandal of the working poor

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In his maiden Inside Labour column, veteran labour activist Patrick Craven says the reason for the shocking poverty levels in the emerging world is that 41.7% of employed workers are forced into what is termed “vulnerable employment” on poverty wages. This, says Craven, is why unions should continue to demand above-inflation wage increases and not make any concessions to false arguments. He writes:

THE latest World Employment and Social Outlook report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) predicts that unemployment will grow to 5.8% over the next two years. The number of people in the world without jobs will rise from 197.7 million to 203.8 million in 2018.

This will be especially bad news for South Africa, where the unemployment rate is already six times higher than the predicted figure for the world - 36% by the more realistic expanded definition. We are also the country whose level of inequality was summed up this week by Oxfam in a report which stated that the wealth of three South African billionaires is equal to that of the bottom half of the country's population combined.

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