SA’s economy is hamstrung by poor productivity and high labour costs; symptoms of a struggling economy. The population increases but the formal economy sheds rather than creates employment. Small businesses are the biggest creators of jobs in any economy. But their potential in SA to create employment is strangled by the corporatist labour market, which discourages the flexibility that the small owner-managed business sector needs to thrive and grow. The dominant players in bargaining councils have won many battles, but have lost the war for job creation and improved economic competitiveness. It is significant that Cosatu and most of the corporate founders of the current system are now mere shadows of their former selves; as are the garment, textile, mining, metal and engineering industries — where bargaining councils have been strongest. SA’s labour relations framework was developed during the mid-1990s by the government, big business as well as organised labour. Big business arrog...

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