South Africa’s biggest labor union on Wednesday urged the government to take bold and decisive action to tackle the ongoing massive job losses.

“We need more effective deployment of all state levers to advance industrialization and the creation of decent work on a large scale,” the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said in response to predictions that up to 1 million jobs would be lost by the end of next year.

A recent survey by the University of South Africa (UNISA) and insurance giant Momentum shows that at least a million more people could be unemployed by the end of 2018, worsening the already high unemployment rate hovering around 27 percent.

Both institutions noted that if the economic performance of the 2011 to 2016 period were extrapolated up to 2018, a fairly gloomy picture emerges with respect to 2017 and 2018.

In their latest Household Financial Wellness Index, both institutions highlighted that GDP growth rates declined from 3.3 percent in 2012 to 0.3 percent in 2016 and are expected to be below one percent in 2017 and 2018.

“This is worrying because government so far has remained indecisive in the face of the massive retrenchments that are affecting all sectors of the economy,” COSATU national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.

Pamla reiterated COSATU’s call for a Job Summit that will engage on how to stop job losses, create new jobs, support the unemployed; and ultimately formalise the informal sector.

The Job Summit can assist in allowing all social partners to work together and come out with common positions on how to deal with issues like trade deficit, employment creation and the overall local economic activity, the spokesperson said.

The summit can also explore ways of finding common ground in industrial policy and incentive measures to create and increase local manufacturing capacity, he said.

COSATU, the country’s largest union federation which has more than 2 million members, had been calling for a job summit to be convened to discuss retrenchments and employment creation long before the economy went into a technical recession in March this year.

“We are worried that the state is refusing to use a variety of macro-economic and other levers at its disposal, to regulate and channel investment in the job intensive areas of the economy,” said Pamla.

South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Lesetja Kganyago said earlier this week that the rising unemployment rate could not be curbed unless the economy grew at three percent.

Statistics South Africa predicted that the country’s economic growth would be lower than 0.5 percent this year, down from 1.3 percent as previously predicted. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/