labour laws

labour laws

  • Unemployed and Uninformed

    The unemployed seldom know why they are unemployed. They are unlikely to realise that they would be employed if labour law barriers were removed or relaxed.

    They can, on the other hand, from harsh personal experience, relate more directly to policies that protect those fortunate enough to have jobs from a similar fate. The unemployed masses are unlikely to realise, without it being explained by honest and informed political leaders, that improving pay and conditions of employment for people with jobs comes at the expense of people without jobs. It also comes at the expense of consumers, especially the poor (for whom prices are driven upwards), and at the expense of society at large (for whom prosperity is curtailed). In the context of nebulous and reckless calls for ‘nationalisation’, the unemployed are especially vulnerable. No one ever explains by what process or mechanism changing ownership from people who created real jobs (investors), to ones who did not (bureaucrats), should benefit anyone other than a handful of new undeserving super-elites.

    This analysis has focused primarily on flexibility of demand, that is, the degree to which the cost of employing people affects the propensity to employ. On the other side is flexibility of supply, the propensity to work in response to wages and working conditions.

    When there is full or near-full employment, job-seekers have a seller’s market and there is little need to be concerned about ‘exploitation’ because workers can pick and choose without the risk of unemployment. Employers have to compete for labour, which drives wages and working conditions upwards.

    Under conditions of widespread destitution, such as we have in South Africa, supply is substantial, flexibility of supply is low, and workers have less ‘bargaining power’. They have to accept almost any employment they can get, which means that they are more likely to be ‘exploited’ (‘starvation wages’ and harsh working conditions). This increases the likelihood of labour laws to protect workers, but decreases the likelihood of barriers to employment being removed for the unemployed.

    - Leon Louw is the Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation. This article first appeared on the Free Market Foundation (FMF) website. It is republished here with the permission of FMF.

  • SA Laws Not to Blame for Increasing Unemployment

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that labour market regulations in South Africa are not to blame for the country’s high unemployment.

    ILO Southern Africa director, Vic van Vuuren, identified education challenges, a skills mismatch, an inadequate focus on entrepreneurship and small business, as well as the economic slowdown, as the main contributing factors to unemployment.

    "When we look at our labour laws and we analyse them and compare them to other best-practice countries, I don’t think we have a rigid labour market that is preventing youth employment or employment in general," explains van Vuuren.

    To read the article titled, “Labour regulations not too rigid, says ILO head,” click here.

    Business Day Live
  • Call for Legal Status for Domestic Workers

    While compliance with legislation guaranteeing the rights of domestic workers has seen a steady climb in South Africa, many employers are still not complying.

    According to a labour consultant and CEO of Emergence Growth Services, Yendor Felgate, reasons for the slow rate of employer compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act are often due to ignorance.

    Felgate explains: "Our research into why so many employers fail to legalise their domestic service arrangements indicates that while most employers are keen to do the right thing, few are aware that their two-day-a-week domestic worker qualifies as an employee."

    To read the article titled, “Call for legal status for domestics,” click here.

  • South Africa’s Job Targets Welcomed

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has praised South Africa’s decision to set job creation targets.

    However, ILO is concerned that the country remains internationally uncompetitive, particularly against the Asian countries against which it competes with in terms of labour.

    ILO South African director, Vic van Vuuren, says that amendments to SA’s labour legislation are taking too long to be finalised. Van Vuuren further states that the country’s labour laws do not require overhauls but rather that business and the government focus more directly on job creation.

    To read the article titled, “SA still not doing enough to create jobs — ILO,” click here.

    Business Day
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