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Decent Work Under the Spotlight

October 14, 2019

Department of Employment and Labour

14 October 2019

The employment and labour department will continue to champion decent work and healthy industrial relations.

The minister of employment and labour, Thulas Nxesi, emphasized this in a speech at the Productivity SA Annual General Meeting in Midrand.

“This is essential to creating a stable labour market – which in turn is conducive to investment, growth and employment. That is in the interests of all the social partners – socially responsible employers, labour and communities alike,” he said.

The minister explained that the renaming of the department to include “employment” reflected government’s priorities of growth and jobs.

“The Department now has an additional focus – to implement active labour market policies with the objectives of leveraging the resources we have to preserve and create jobs, as well as to promote appropriate training and re-training which meets the skills demanded by the labour market – in rapidly changing conditions which accompany the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Specific implications of the renaming/reconfiguration of the department include that the department will need to also facilitate job preservation and creation; coordinate government job creation initiatives; leverage Unemployment Insurance Fund and Compensation Fund resources to preserve and create jobs; implement the Temporary Employee/ Employer Relief Scheme to assist companies in distress; promote synergies between the CCMA and Productivity SA; strengthen Public Employment Services to streamline the placement of work seekers and reinvigorate NEDLAC to promote social dialogue between the social partners and government.

The minister also made it clear that wholesale deregulation of the labour market is a “non-starter” and workers’ struggles over decades for decent work will not be overturned.

“But we do encourage engagement with business to see where red tape can be removed and bureaucracy eliminated – easing the cost of doing business – supporting investment, growth and jobs,” he said.