Jul 25, 2012
New labour laws will set SA back – BusaBack
Africa|Busa|Business South Africa|Business Unity SA|Engineering|Africa|South Africa|Manufacturing|Retail Organisations|Vanessa Phala
Appearing before Parliament's labour portfolio committee, on the second and final day of public hearings on the Basic Conditions of Employment and the Labour Relations amendment bills, Business Unity SA (Busa) warned the two measures, if enacted, would set back employment creation.
"The level of unemployment is continuing to rise, and we are of the opinion that the bills that we have before us will not take us anywhere in terms of addressing the issue of unemployment," Busa executive director Vanessa Phala told MPs.
Busa represents South African business on macro-economic and high-level issues that affect it at national and international levels.
It also represents local businesses' interests in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
Created in 2003, through the merger of the Black Business Council and Business South Africa, the confederation includes among its members the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Mines, plus many other professional manufacturing, engineering and retail organisations.
"Let me indicate that this submission by Busa is supported by all our members," Phala said.
Busa's key concern was the need to create jobs. Government's New Growth Path and New Development Plan were good initiatives that set specific targets in terms of the number of jobs that needed to be created.
"But we are of the view that we will not be able to meet those targets if we've got the kind of bills we have before Parliament."
A critical area for the creation of jobs and the growth of business was to have a strong compliance and enforcement mechanism, hence the need to have a very good labour inspectorate in place.
"We are of the view that the kind of laws we [already] have, [together] with very good enforcement, can really achieve the intended objectives."
Phala said it was not a good idea to "always want to change the laws because there is no compliance", and suggested to MPs that they might want first to address enforcement and address compliance.
She also called for a comprehensive assessment of the impact the new bills might have, taking into account the proposals they contained.
"We feel, at the moment, that these bills... will not get us anywhere and not enable us to meet our target and our objectives."
The amendments in the bills provided "poor policy choices", and there were other options.
"The bills... will have a dire, dire impact on small business in particular," she warned.
If you made it difficult for small business to operate, "you are killing many jobs".
Busa had done its own impact assessment, over three key areas.
This assessment showed that about 215,000 jobs would be lost as a result of the equal treatment provisions contained in the amendments.
"It also indicates that between 11,000 and 105,000 jobs will be lost as a result of amendments prescribing wage increases on actual earnings.
"Furthermore... between 38,000 and 80,000 jobs will be lost should amendments to extend collective bargaining agreements be introduced."
This was clearly not a very good picture, and one that business was reluctant to commit itself to.
"We need to really go back... and ensure that the bills passed by Parliament will give us the kind of outcomes we want."
On part-time employment, she said business was not against treating workers equally, but the proposed amendments went beyond discriminatory matters.
"They go on to require employers to pay... the same benefits to part-time workers as those working full-time."
This would increase the wage bill and discourage employers from employing part-time workers.
It would also promote onerous litigation.
South Africa was grappling with a serious crisis of unemployment, but the amendment bills would not help solve this problem.
"What we have before us in these bills is counter to what we are trying to do," Phala said.
Cabinet approved the two labour amendment bills for submission to Parliament in March this year.
Edited by: Sapa
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
This Week's Magazine
Power and automation company ABB is in the launch phase of its highest payload, multipurpose industrial robot, the IRB 8700. The robot has a reach of 3.5 m and can handle a payload of up to 800 kg. “When designing the IRB 8700, we emphasised reach and payload, as...
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a critical facet of a connected security ecosystem, as controlling the confidentiality, integrity and authorisation of data access and use is key to securing new digital business channels. However, companies face several...
Data underpins digital business models, the digital economy, the Internet of Things and the fundamental changes in the ways people interact and protecting data is crucial to securing new ways of doing business, says T-Systems South Africa information and...
The City of Cape Town will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for its MyCiTi service, in line with the council’s commitment to lower its carbon footprint, says executive mayor Patricia de Lille. The tender, to be advertised early in February, will...
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority signed a R10-million contract last month with local tailings storage facility specialists Cyclone Engineering Projects to remove about 100 000 m3 of dredge spoil obstructing the natural course of the uMfolozi river, in...