Cosatu calls for protests over solar sector jobs failure

Cosatu in the Western Cape is planning protests at Parliament over what it claims is government’s failure to implement job commitments regarding the importation of components for solar panels.

A statement issued on Wednesday said that the labour movement would detail at a joint press conference with the Cape Chamber of Commerce on Thursday what it actually plans to do.

“Government fails to regulate the solar industry to provide the required local content and jobs. The government’s commitments in the COP17 [climate change talks] negotiations are being undermined by the regulations that government’s department of energy has put in place, in relation to the importation of components in the solar industry. This regulation in relation to the importation is leading to a flood of imports that have already seen solar companies close down, with resultant job losses,” Cosatu’s statement said.

Cosatu said there had been extensive discussions in the industry between it, various companies in the solar energy sector and government departments.

It said the way in which the regulations were structured removed the prospects of attracting investments for additional capital expenditure in the industry. It was also prejudicing the raising of investment for the required investment in the industry.

“This industry was to be one of the flagships in respect of creating additional employment opportunities, now it’s losing jobs as a direct result of the lack of action on the part of government. Cosatu believes this is because of a lack of political will in the department of energy,” the statement said. — I-Net Bridge

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