The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on NEDLAC and Parliament to debate the International Labour Organization’s Employment Policy Convention 122 to prepare the ground for its ratification by government as South Africa does not have an Employment Policy to arrest the worsening unemployment crisis in the country which stands at 27.7% according to the latest analysis from Statistics South Africa.
FEDUSA’s calls follows two days of deliberations on the Employment Policy Convention 122 in conjunction with the Institute of International Workers Education, Business Unity South Africa, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Statistic South Africa and the executive Director of NEDLAC that ended on Wednesday in Boksburg.
FEDUSA wants government to ratify Employment Policy Convention 122 with a view to stimulating inclusive economic growth and development, raising levels of living, meeting South Africa’s human capital requirements and putting in place an employment policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment.
“South Africa does not have an agreed Employment Policy. The National Development Plan proposal that the country should create 11 million by 2030, while maintaining an average growth rate of 5.4% every year over this period to achieve this objective. South Africa has mainly failed because of weak leadership on the part of government who did not make the appropriate political choices and effective implementation. The Employment Policy Convention 122 is important because it aim to generate work for all and that such work is productive as possible,” says FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George.
“The agreed Employment Policy should be based on analytical studies of present and future size and distribution of the labour force, employment, unemployment and underemployment. Economic policy including investment and income policy, together with the promotion of industrial development in both private and public sector based on available raw materials and energy to support employment creation and change the patterns of demand in domestic and foreign markets. Moreover, the development of co-operatives and small businesses should be encourage to strengthen industrial development and to establish a complementary relations between small and large businesses.
“The agreed Employment Policy should also promote rural employment together with special measures of institutional and technical support with incentives and social conditions to utilise local human resources. Institutional measures for the promotion of productive employment, including agrarian reforms, land reform and improvement of land tenure as well as the extension of credit facilities and development of improved marketing”.
FEDUSA argue further that higher investment is necessary for achieving higher inclusive economic growth and decent employment creation. Studies in high-growth economies like China and India show that they have investment levels over 30% of GDP, investment in SA is relatively low at 19.5% of GDP and economic growth in the last 9 years has been very low.
The country’s savings rate is very low and higher investment requires higher levels of domestic saving, and foreign savings are needed to fill any gap if we are to grow faster. Therefore the link between investment and Employment Policy is urgently needed to support the achievement of higher inclusive economic growth and decent employment creation.
FEDUSA also welcomes the announcement that NEDLAC social partners have approved the Youth Employment Services (YES) programme that commits to provide 333 000 work experiences for those with poor matric or no matric. The YES programme is critical because unemployed young people receive very little state support and are left on their own. The YES programme intent to provide 1 million work experiences in private companies to receive on the job training, concluded George.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
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