In a free market there would not be legislation, such as the legislation being challenged by the FMF and NEASA, which prevents job seekers from entering into agreements with employers on mutually agreeable terms. The simple free market way to get SA’s 8.4 million unemployed people working is to allow them to make their own decisions as to what amount of wages and what conditions of employment they find acceptable. This solution is logically simple.
In the book Jobs Jobs Jobs published by the FMF in 2011, the authors analyse unemployment and provide solutions to the problem. One of the proposals is to exempt the unemployed, on application, from the labour laws. Government and the labour unions claim that the labour laws protect everyone, including the unemployed, from potential abuse by employers. The harsh truth is that, in a country with huge unemployment, strict labour laws prevent the unemployed from getting jobs. Exempting the unemployed from the labour laws puts the decision-making power squarely in the hands of the unemployed.
The proposal is that people who have been unemployed for six months or more should have the right to be issued, on request, with a Job Seekers’ Exemption Certificate (JSEC), exempting them from all the labour laws for a period of two years. The JSEC should simultaneously allow employers to employ JSEC-holders on mutually agreeable terms in written agreements that are subject to the common law.
How can any humane person, whether a member of government or a labour union, object to the issue of a JSEC to long term unemployed people to allow them to find jobs on a willing-employer-willing-employee basis? Let the job seeker decide what is a “decent job” and a “decent wage”! No one can claim the right to decide for them.
Author: Eustace Davie is a director of the FMF and a contributing author to the book Jobs Jobs Jobs, published by the Foundation. This article may be republished 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 FMF.