Despite the strides South Africa has made in improving labor conditions over the years, workers are still faced with numerous problems, a Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesman said on Wednesday.
“Some of the challenges workers are dealing with include retrenchment, exploitation, slavery, stagnant wages, rising costs of living and general unemployment,” the Cosatu spokesman, Sizwe Palma, said.
With South Africa’s economic growth being sluggish for nine years, Cosatu, South Africa’s largest labor federation, said conditions have worsened for workers.
“The fact that the economy is shrinking means that workers are vulnerable. When you have more workers and fewer jobs, it means workers can be forced to accept lower wages, instead of fair wages,” Palma said.
He said the labor department should work harder to ensure that progressive laws root out exploitation.
“We have 16.1 million workers, but the labor department only has 1,000 labor inspectors to enforce laws,” Palma said. “The number tells that there’s no political will to stop exploitation.”
He also called for efforts to deal with automation and mechanization.
“We have to be hands on in processes that are about re-skilling and up-skilling of workers. We have to continue doing research in sectors likely to be greatly affected by digitalization and mechanisms,” Palma said. Enditem