http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.11Change: 0.01
R/$ = 11.55Change: 0.00
Au 1291.11 $/ozChange: -2.42
Pt 1265.00 $/ozChange: -1.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Oct 12, 2012

Working as a team an ‘economic necessity’

Back
New York|SECURITY|Africa|Industrial|Security|Africa|North America|South Africa|United States|Columbia University|Security|Food Service Workers|Healthcare|Security|Service|Andy Stern|Barack Obama|Security
SECURITY|Africa|Industrial|Security|Africa|||Security|Security|Service|Security
new-york|security|africa-company|industrial|security-company|africa|north-america|south-africa|united-states|columbia-university-facility|security-facility|food-service-workers|healthcare|security-industry-term|service|andy-stern|barack-obama|security-person
© Reuse this



In the context of South Africa’s prevailing industrial relations tensions, views expressed by leading US labour personality Andy Stern, who visited South Africa earlier this month, are worth airing and contemplating.

Stern is the former president of the 2.2-million member Service Employees International Union, which, under his leadership, grew into North America’s largest union, representing cleaners, security and food service workers, as well as healthcare and provincial workers.

Currently associated with Columbia University, in New York, Stern has also served on President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and also collaborated on a recent Council on Foreign Relations report on the role of trade in the global economy.

One of his key messages for business and labour is that “countries are teams” competing in the global economy for investment and employment. Therefore, “your other stakeholders are team mates” and a job-centric collaboration between business, labour and government is “now an economic necessity”, not merely a nice to have.

It’s message that doesn’t even fit well with Stern’s own natural anti-business and anti-establishment inclinations, with his own mother having described his union involvement as a job for a “juvenile delinquent”.

But merely fighting business “doesn’t really work well for workers,” he shared in an interview.

Controversially for a labour leader, Stern now tends to eschew old distinctions between left and right ideology. “What is more relevant may be right and wrong strategies for growth and sharing in success.”

Given the pace of change and innovation, the reality of global-isation and the emergence of an entirely new world of work, where the concept of ‘one job in a lifetime’ is less and less realistic, Stern argues that it is incumbent on labour leaders to understand the competitive pressures faced by the employer.

“What you do with that understanding is one question, but it is not good for members for trade union leaders to be ignorant of those realities.”

Different interests will prevail, but an objective analysis of the economic reality will show that “unless we work together as a team, our country is not going to be successful.”

It’s unlikely to be a popular message in the current South African context and, in the short term, it may even be sensible, in the interest of industrial peace, for employers to give into demands that are not justifiable on the economic facts.

However, in the longer term, labour leaders will need to do what is truly in the interests of their members: help build rather than undermine firm- level competitiveness through a disciplined adherence to labour-relations rules and by pursuing the best deal for workers within the constraints of prevailing economic con- dition.

In the end, without additional and more competitive companies, jobs – which the World Bank now acknowledges to be more important to development than growth – will be even harder to create and sustain. A prospect that no South African can surely bear face.

Edited by: Terence Creamer
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Editorial Insight News
The jury is still out on what effect the collapsing oil price will have on Africa’s 2015 growth prospects, with the answer depending materially on whether a country is an oil importer or exporter. However, the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP)...
In his book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or how to Build the Future, serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel (best known as one of the cofounders of PayPal, along with Elon Musk and Max Levchin) has a chapter titled ‘You are Not a Lottery...
There is a sense of fatigue across South Africa as 2014 draws to a close. The year has been a difficult one for business and for citizens. The external environment remains problematic, with South Africa’s key trading partners performing unevenly and with commodity...
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 8 minutes ago Energy and chemicals group Sasol will delay making a final investment decision on a proposed 96 000 bl/d gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in the US state of Louisiana, as the group announces plans to cut costs in response to lower international oil prices. Sasol on...
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde
Updated 1 hour 51 minutes ago To prevent the loss of millions of rands in agricultural produce, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture has funded close to R1-million to provide an interim solution to this month’s collapse of a section of one of the canals fed by the Clanwilliam dam. The...
Updated 3 hours ago South Africa has lost R700-billion to corruption over the last 20 years, the Institute of Internal Auditors said on Wednesday. "The cost of corruption in the last 20 years... we have lost R700-billion," CEO Claudelle von Eck said at the launch of the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
BRUCE BRADFORD The 3D printers have a clear upgrade path to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloys
Three-dimensional (3D) printers being sold in South Africa by electronics distributor Rectron currently print in two types of plastic, but have a clear upgrade path over the next five years to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloy materials, says Rectron...
The world’s two dominant commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus of Europe and Boeing of the US, both recently announced that they had made record aircraft deliveries in 2014. Boeing set a global record for the industry with 723 commercial aircraft delivered, while...
The Western Cape is shifting further into the renewable-energy space with the official opening of a factory specialising in solar inverters, a key component of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The investment in the manufacturing facility in Cape Town aims to boost the...
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) last month welcomed Cabinet’s establishment of a technical team war room to undertake various interventions to improve electricity supply security over the short- and medium-term, but added that the private sector also had a...
Despite a rapid rise in mobile connections and the economic and social benefits of such connectivity, more than half of the world ended 2014 unconnected. For this reason, industry commentators believe the biggest impact of mobile technology is still to come –...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks