Department of Employment and Labour
13 September 2019
The wholesale deregulation of the labour market is not on the cards.
The minister of employment and labour, Thulas Nxesi, emphasized this during an address at the opening of the 3rd Annual Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Shop Stewards and Union Officials Conference at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
In a department statement, the minister clarified that 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. That is in our interests. And I would urge this conference to also give some thought to this matter,” he said.
The minister vowed that his department will continue to champion decent working conditions and healthy industrial relations despite the department’s mandate having been expanded to employment and labour.
The minister said that the “additional mandate of the Department was to implement active labour market policies with the objectives of leveraging the resources at its disposal to preserve and create jobs, as well as to promote appropriate training and re-training which meets the skills demanded by the labour market”.
He also pointed out that the National Minimum Wage Commission was undertaking research on the impact of the first six months of the national minimum wage.
“The investigation will look not only on the impact of employment, but also on poverty and inequality. He said the outcome of the research will reignite a national debate on the minimum wage – but a debate based on evidence.”
On the impact of technological change and the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the world of work, the minister indicated that technological change cannot be prevented and it had the potential to be very disruptive in economic and societal terms.
“The process will need to be managed through all social partners’ involvement,” he said.