Miracle needed at Zuma, labour talk shop

Cape Town - It will be something of a miracle if any serious conclusion is reached at the high level meeting on Tuesday between President Jacob Zuma and leaders of the labour caucus at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).  

Zuma and Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti will meet with the heads of the three major labour federations.

The agenda is not promising, containing just three items: an input on Zuma’s 2015 Nine Point Plan to revitalise the economy (to be delivered by Nkwinti), an input from the labour federations, followed by discussions on the way forward. The meeting is scheduled to end with concluding remarks by Zuma.

This is much the same format as the recent meeting Zuma held with representatives of business. What seems certain is that the nine point plan initially announced in the State of the Nation address last year, remains the touchstone for Government.

This plan involves everything from “encouraging private investment” to “moderating workplace conflict and “unlocking the potentials” of small and micro business. However, the union federations have only just completed their own discussions regarding the introduction of a national minimum wage and appear to be coming close to an agreement on this.

“We will talk, we will listen, but, in the end, there can be no resolution,” a labour participant said. “At least we will spell out our different opinions to one another.”

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