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COSATU’s call for stayaway on brokers contradictory to national objective of reducing unemployment

Thursday, 09 February 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Zina Girald
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COSATU’s call for stayaway on brokers contradictory to the national objective of reducing unemployment and securing decent jobs

The media has been flooded with articles showcasing COSATU’s aggressive call for a national strike including their assertion that teachers, doctors and nurses should join ranks. Whilst we acknowledge the right of workers to stayaway, we cannot condone the suggestion that citizens of this country, especially those who are ill, aged or at school, be placed in danger. It is, in our opinion, irresponsible of the trade union to expect hospitals, clinics and schools to shutdown as they provide essential services to the communities they serve.

The Association of Personnel Service Organisations (APSO) and our members are fully committed to the process of securing efficient regulation, and more importantly, effective enforcement, for the private employment services industry. We have actively participated for the past few years, via our membership of the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES), in the NEDLAC negotiation process but have been disappointed at the lack of progress made, primarily because some of the social partners appear unwilling to find common ground. We are also concerned that some of Government’s proposals go too far and will lead to further job losses.

"It is ironic that COSATU states that their primary goal is the reduction of poverty through the creation and sustainability of decent jobs, and yet their stance in respect to the private employment agency industry, that plays a positive role in the economy and has been shown, through local and international research, to proactively create jobs and provide decent work, is so negative,” says Natalie Singer, Chief Operating Officer for APSO.

International research commissioned in 2011 by the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT) and conducted by the Boston Consulting Group clearly illustrates that the private employment agency sector worldwide has a direct positive effect on the economy, the creation of jobs and provision of decent work.

According to the findings, 74% of user organisations (employers) would not consider hiring permanent workers as an alternative to taking on agency workers and 62% of them would not have created jobs if they had no access to private employment services. In addition, the research clearly shows that private employment agencies have a critical role to play in up-skilling and re-skilling workers to ensure future employability. On average 66% of agency workers, across the globe, were unemployed before securing work through a private employment agency.

According to Singer, "this gateway to employment is even more pronounced in South Africa where more than 80% of first-time temp assignees were previously unemployed with a large proportion never having worked before. The conversion rates from temp to perm are also very favourable with 32% securing permanent employment within 12 months of joining an agency.”

APSO, in conjunction with CAPES, will host James Gribben, head of research at CIETT, in the last week of March during which time he will present the findings of the global research at a series of breakfasts to be held across the country.

With unemployment at the heart of many of South Africa’s problems and at the forefront of almost all of the Government’s strategic imperatives, it is concerning to see that COSATU is unwilling to engage constructively to find a solution that achieves the ultimate goal of getting more people into work.

"We hope that the stayaway will take place peacefully. Further, we encourage those who have chosen a vocation to care for, or nurture others, to remain at their posts, especially teachers who play a vital role in educating our youth who, without proper education, will be doomed to join the ranks of the unemployed,” pleads Singer.

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