QLFS: Planned public sector strike a slap in the face of the unemployed

Issued by Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour
29 Nov 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Michael Cardo MP.

The threat of continued public sector strike action this week is a slap in the face of millions of unemployed South Africans, who are desperate for work, destitute, and plagued by the persistent cost-of-living crisis.

The jobless would give their eye teeth for the kind of sheltered employment and wage increases which many striking public sector workers regard as their above-inflation-remunerated birth right.

Such is the fault line between South Africa’s economic insiders and outsiders.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q3: 2022, released today, the number of unemployed people (including 3.5 million discouraged jobseekers) stands at 11.2 million.

The DA welcomes the marginal reduction in this figure — and the fact that the official unemployment rate decreased by a percentage point to 32.9% – but the scale of the jobs crisis remains monumental. Of particular concern is that there were 10.2 million young people aged 15-24 years in Q3: 2022 who were not in employment, education or training (the so-called ‘NEETs’). This is almost a percentage point higher than the equivalent rate in Q3: 2021.

Joblessness poses the single greatest threat to our social fabric, and the ANC government doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

The government should be focusing on an extensive programme of labour market reform so that the private sector can be freed up to employ predominantly low-skilled workers at scale.

Unfortunately, many trade unions are more interested in protecting the narrow interests of their own members than in fighting for the unemployed to enter the labour market. The self-seeking entitlement of striking public sector workers, who are prepared to bring the country to a halt, typifies this attitude.

Looming strike action will only serve to weaken the country’s fragile economy even more. As ever, the unemployed – and particularly unemployed youth – will bear the brunt of the consequences.