Make Job Retention a Vital Pillar of the Jobs Summit – FEDUSA
2 October 2018
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on the social partnership leadership to make the retention of current jobs a vital pillar of the Presidential Jobs Summit. The two-day Jobs Summit which starts in Johannesburg on Thursday has been billed as different from previous ones and will signal government’s serious intention to tackle the unemployment crisis that been steadily edging towards the 30% mark in recent times. That the country has slipped into a technical recession and has also been relegated to junk status by major credit rating agencies makes placing a moratorium on retrenchments a compelling imperative.
It is a contradiction in terms to be talking about large scale job creation through the Jobs Summit while on the one hand and hinting at a possible lay-off of 30 000 civil servants – which the government has spinned as reviewing job descriptions – and giving notices to retrench similar numbers in the mining industry on other. Such double speak is self-defeating.
“Job retention should one of the critical pillars of the Jobs Summit and it is imperative for social partner leadership to meet regularly to monitor and evaluate the so-called dismissal of employees for operational requirements at NEDLAC going forward. Furthermore, social partnership should also involve the CCMA as a bastion to support for job retention situation in the country,” says FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George.
“Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) – as amended – permits an employer to dismiss employees for operational requirements or reasons; the phrase ‘operational requirements’ is a broad reference to the economic, technical, structural or similar needs of an employer. However, before effecting such dismissals, the LRA places an obligation on employers to engage in a meaningful joint consensus-seeking process in an attempt to reach consensus on, inter alia, appropriate measures to avoid and/or minimise the number of dismissals”.
George says alternatives to retrenchment and the consultation process can only be meaningful and consensus-seeking if social partners honestly engage in the process and full disclosure of the financial position is made by the employer and exchanges by parties are well-motivated and rational.
Dismissals for operational requirements should also only be effected as a measure of last resort. Alternatives should include the following measures as strategies that will support job retention: flexible training lay-off scheme, reduced working hours, placing a moratorium on new appointments, overtime or Sunday work, transferring affected employees to other jobs in the employer’s business or group, training or re-skilling employees for other available positions, concluded George.
Fedusa has also called on the government to fill vacant posts that had raised their ugly heads in the public sector, as services had literally ground to a halt; with many institutions rendering services through skeletal staff. This situation has greatly increased burnouts syndrome among public servants which is evident in schools, hospitals, clinics, home affairs offices; and the increasing rates of litigation arising from the maternal death due to shortage of nurses and doctors and extended hours of work, hence it is important to fill those vacant posts as part of this Jobs Summit process.
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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