The Free Market Foundation (FMF) is firmly dedicated to freedom of association; a freedom that, within this context, gives employees the right to associate freely with trade unions and other workers’ initiatives, and gives both employees and employers the right to associate with whatever kind of collective bargaining mechanisms they freely decide to enter into. This right and the right to a fair labour environment are recognised and protected by the Constitution, a fact the FMF readily embraces.
The FMF, however, encourages caution on the part of government in its tentative plans to convert the statutory council for the catering industry into a bargaining council. Arguably South Africa’s most pressing contemporary concern is the issue of unemployment, a condition that exacerbates poverty and inequality, and solving this problem should be high on government and civil society’s agenda. A crucial part in solving the problem of unemployment is to ensure the cost of employment is kept at levels most likely to encourage employers to employ more people. In other words, in our stagnating economy, it should not be too difficult or expensive for a business to employ someone, or hopefully, many people.
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