Are these people barking mad?

Cosatu seems unaware of the irony of its call for more jobs.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) expressed concern on Tuesday over the loss of formal sector jobs and the growing number of discouraged work-seekers.

Seemingly unaware of the irony of its position, Cosatu said, “These figures clearly confirm Cosatu’s view that we are in the throes of a national unemployment emergency.”

This is, of course, absolutely true. However, one of the major reasons for our unemployment problem is the power of trade unions. Cosatu and its affiliates demand higher-than-inflation wage increases, insist on restrictive hiring and firing rules, and generally attempt to hobble and calcify South Africa’s labour markets at every turn (for a longer discussion on these points, click here).

Continuing with its alternative universe narrative, Cosatu said, “All policies, from government, business and labour – and the SA Reserve Bank – must prioritise saving jobs and creating new jobs. This includes policy on economic development, tariffs, and interest rates, the expanded public works programme, community service delivery, rural development, etc. They must all now focus on measures to end the job loss bloodbath and create decent jobs.”

The irony here is that the expanded public works programme (EPWP) doesn’t provide so-called decent jobs (see full details here). It’s bizarre that Cosatu, on the one hand, wilfully hobbles the private sectors ability to create jobs, and on the other hand lauds government for creating work that meets none of the criteria of decent work.

If a business tried to create the type of jobs government’s creating with its EPWP Cosatu would be rioting on the streets. If the union were truly concerned with the plight of the unemployed, it would encourage businesses to hire, rather than to replace intractable and combative labour with machines.

Write to Felicity Duncan:


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The tripartite government’s vision for SA’s unemployement problem is aiming very low.

Nowhere do they plan to get people actually producing an item or a service which can generate sustained income or can be internationally marketable and profitable.

Instead the plan is to put people at work as manual labourers building houses, mining and farming: something that any uneducated person can do. No high technology industries are cultivated.

The expanded civil service will not be catering for the establishment of an atmosphere in which the private sector can expand its endeavours, but rather to tax the wealth creators and care for the wealth consumers.

It seems that all South Africans are good for is as illiterate, ignorant worker ants and a army of lazy ticks.

In the land of the blind. the one-eyed is king.

Who cares if all the wage increases are way above inflation because the rich will pay in the end anyway. Or will they? The capital flight is slow and unobtrusive. As factories close and machinery leaves our shores no one will say anything until suddenly the tax base is insufficient. Time to wake up Africa.

I once saw a man who did not know how to ride horse accept a dare to mount a rather docile horse to prove that he could join a group of riders.

His fear and lack of skill made him hold the reins in very tightly while at the same time he kicked his heels into the horse’s side and made the required clicking noises to encourage the horse to move forward.

Needless to say the poor confused animal did nothing, the man got very angry, kicked the horse even more, shouting and cursing and blaming the horse. He could not join the group and we rode off laughing as he was helped down from the saddle.

These events remind me of COSATU’s labour strategy – it won’t, indeed cannot move the country forward.

Okay its maths for COSATU, so lots more labour equals lots more strikes, and lots more strikes, leads to more Union fees, and more Union fees equals New cars and bigger houses, and then we start again, more labour, more strikes, more fees. More consumption of the fees, of course COSATU will encourage consumption over production, they are consumist themselves. What has the organisation ever produced. Anything they bring to the table is based on consumption. They don`t understand the word produce.

totally true and although cosatu spks about increasing employment what they strike for is increased wages for their members, even if this reduces overall employment

nobody, least of all cosatu, cares about the unemployed

How well the ANC are following the African way of creating poverty. SA will soon be seen as a failed state just like Somalia

Cosatu said, “All policies, from government, business and labour – and the SA Reserve Bank – must prioritise saving jobs and creating new jobs”

Step 1 – Get rid of the department of labor and all its laws

End of comments.




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