It is rather rich for Cosatu to now be shouting from the treetops that 9.3-million people need jobs.
Me and some of my colleagues in the labour portfolio in parliament spent much of 2018 warning the ANC and Cosatu that we should be expecting a “jobs bloodbath” during 2019. We outlined very carefully that the harsh labour regulatory regime, coupled with enormous corruption, will create an environment whereby employees will be retrenched in their thousands.
We then went on to outline that the advent of the national minimum wage would take that environment one step further to create the perfect storm. Even Treasury warned that the minimum wage could lead to the loss of 750,000 jobs. I specifically stated on numerous occasions to Cosatu during parliamentary hearings that they must not complain thereafter as the implementation of the national minimum wage and the consequent retrenchments would not be “unintended consequences”.
We in the DA specifically outlined that there should be a minimum wage per industry so as to ensure the increases would be sustainable in each specific sector.
One always understands that the wages are low and certainly not ideal. However, if one lifts the wage too high it leads to staff reduction as a natural consequence. This natural consequence has led me to state that the actual minimum wage in SA today is nought rand per hour.
We are all going to the polls on May 8 and I am pleading with every South African who has been touched in some way or another by the unemployment situation to make their cross on the ballot paper to show that the situation as it exists nationally is not acceptable.
Michael Bagraim, DA shadow minister of labour