SACCI to oppose call to change Labour Act

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) will oppose calls by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to change the Labour Act, SACCI’s CEO Neren Rau said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the launch of SACCI’s Business Environment Review and Forecast 2008 - 2009.

“We would oppose Cosatu’s call to change Section 189 of the Labour Act,” Rau said.

The particular section relates to the way in which workers are retrenched.

“If it is made impossible to retrench workers, there will be problems for business when it comes to long-term sustainability,” Rau said.

“In other words, you could save a few workers now, but in the long run this would not be sustainable for business.”

Rau said that Section 189 of the Labour Act was already stringent and calls to make it even more so would be opposed by SACCI.

“It must be understood that companies do not take the decision to retrench lightly,” Rau said.

“Investors see retrenchments as reflecting a company’s prospects—so why would companies take retrenchments lightly?”

Rau said the African National Congress’s (ANC) election manifesto indicated that it was leaning in the direction of changing the Labour Act according to Cosatu’s demands.

“For us the ANC’s manifesto was pro-poor and we expected this. However, it was a bit more left-leaning than we thought it would be,” Rau said.

However, he added that SACCI was still in the process of analysing the manifesto.

Rau said that the manifesto, however, had positive aspects and one of these was the attention given to the issue of crime.

“For SACCI’s members, crime is a very big concern,” he said.—Sapa

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