It is 24 years since the Labour Relations Act became law. As one of the first major pieces of legislation of the democratic era, it was regarded as an important step in eradicating the ills of the past. Subsequent labour legislation built on this. Yet we still hear that SA's labour laws are hindering job creation. It came up again this week when Moody's said in a credit opinion on SA that "a number of structural challenges hamper growth, such as the limited flexibility in the labour market as well as skills shortages that result in an increasingly high unemployment rate".

The annual Global Competitiveness Report is often cited as further proof that labour laws are hindering the country's growth. The 2018 survey ranks SA 111th out of 140 countries when it comes to hiring and firing practice, 136th on co-operation in labour-employee relations, and gives it similarly low scores on flexibility of wage determination and labour policies. But when it comes to workers' rights, we are ...

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