There are four Labour Bills currently under discussion by the South African parliament. The proposals will considerably tighten the labour market and negatively impact on business and individuals in SA.
The main concern is supposed to be to protect the employees. However we already have legislation that more than adequately protects employees who wish to contribute effectively to the economy.
No matter how much legislation you have workers can still be abused so long as they are not in high demand. To explain further. A company requires a staff member to work longer hours than those legislated. If the person has to use legal channels to complain they may be able to force the employer to shorten their hours but the relationship will probably be harmed and the employer can retaliate in many legal ways. If however there were plenty of available jobs that this person was suitable for they could leave and go elsewhere. If this kept happening the company would probably amend the working hours in order to retain staff.
The focus needs to be on education and training so as to have a well skilled work force as well as creating an environment which allows for the creation of many jobs. With both in place we would have a good supply of skilled workers able to pick and choose their jobs. Employers would then be inclined to voluntarily abide by fair legislation.
Any changes made to labour legislation need to be those that make employing people easier and more appealing. The current proposed changes do the opposite.
Our economy strengthens when businesses are profitable and growing. This requires employees to be productive and effective. Creating employment that is virtually secure no matter whether the employee works well or not encourages laziness and creates a culture of doing the minimum. This sets up a cycle of weakening rather than strengthening the economy and job opportunities.
For more discussion and useful links to the acts see www.2bbusiness.co.za/2011/01/26/llabour-bills-summary-what-this-really-means-for-your-small-business/