http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.93Change: 0.00
R/$ = 12.67Change: -0.01
Au 1095.49 $/ozChange: 0.31
Pt 984.00 $/ozChange: 2.00
 
 
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|Africa|Industrial|SECURITY|Africa|North America|South Africa|United States|Columbia University|Food Service Workers|Healthcare|Service|Andy Stern|Barack Obama
|Africa|Industrial|SECURITY|Africa||||Service|
new-york|africa-company|industrial|security|africa|north-america|south-africa|united-states|columbia-university-facility|food-service-workers|healthcare|service|andy-stern|barack-obama
© 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
Creamer Media Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Editorial Insight News
The trade-off currently being considered in the steel industry is relatively straightforward. The country’s largest steel producer, supported by some smaller companies, is seeking greater protection from steel imports, as well as regulations stipulating that locally...
With tongue firmly in cheek, political commentator JP Landman empathised strongly recently with an audience of mostly male professionals for having to bear the infuriating insistence of their fathers-in-law that the entire country was being kept solvent by a small...
More
 
 
Latest News
Embattled South African steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has offered insight into the “fair pricing model” it has tabled before government in return for tariff protection and a government stipulation that locally manufactured steel be designated for...
Telecommunications group Telkom on Friday said it had posted a 1.7% uptick in net revenue for the three months to June 30, on the back of a strong performance by mobile on data revenue and higher fixed-line subscription revenue. Mobile net revenue for the first three...
Dangote Cement revised its 2015 spending plans to $1-billion from the $700-million estimated nine months ago after it commissioned two new African plants this June, Nigeria's biggest listed company said on Friday. The company, majority owned by billionaire Aliko...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Daimler truck test engineer Dirk Stranz pushes one button, and then retracts his hands from the steering wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. “And now the truck is driving itself.”
The statutory body responsible for skills development and support in the banking sector, BANKSETA, was investing R68-million in the capacity building project of the University of Venda (UniVen), announced Bankseta company secretary Caroline King at a media event in...
LIONEL MOYAL Cloud services providers must compete against other cloud services providers for business by providing up-to-date systems and services
Legacy information technology (IT) systems are becoming increasingly obsolete because of the maturity, efficiencies and cost effectiveness of cloud-based IT services, says information and communication technology major T-Systems subsidiary Intervate head Lionel...
ARMANDÉ KRUGER Balancing the collection and processing of data must be aligned to strategy
Many complementary services enable companies to derive broad value from data inside and outside them. The complexity of data management means that companies’ strategies determine the various data systems and functions they will use, says PBT Group regional sales...
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has announced that it had awarded the country’s first remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) pilot’s licence. It was issued on Friday, July 10, to SACAA employee and qualified commercial pilot Nicole Swart,...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96