Fixing the Laws that Govern the Labour Market

The solution to our terrible levels of unemployment lies neither in systems of exemptions, whether for young people or others, nor in an ‘Economic Codesa’.

Deeper structural changes to our labour law are required, but this will only be a part of the solution – monetary and fiscal policy is equally important. The proposals may not resonate with the Tripartite Alliance, but they help us to understand the work we still have to do if our levels of employment are to improve.

There are four fundamental changes required to our labour law:

– The repeal of the power to extend statutory bargaining agreements to non-parties.

– The abolition of the general unfair dismissal regime – with provisions against victimisation and discrimination remaining in place.

– The introduction of mandatory polling (balloting) to limit strikes and, in particular, strike violence.

– The imposition of union liability, albeit circumscribed, for injury and loss caused by striking.

Only by these means will we liberate the unemployed from the burdens cast on them by big capital and big labour.

AUTHOR Martin Brassey is a Senior Counsel, Johannesburg Bar and visiting Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand. This article is an excerpt from the book Jobs Jobs Jobs published by the Free Market Foundation and may be published without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author. The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.

FMF Policy Bulletin / 17 April 2012

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