Government to look at measures to stop South African retrenchments

Department of Employment and Labour Director-General Thobile Lamati has reiterated for the need to revitalise and re-energise efforts designed to tackle the scourge retrenchments.

Lamati made the call while addressing a departmental seminar on Thursday.

“Whilst most of us are hard at work trying to ensure that our people find and stay working, large scale retrenchments are happening and more are mooted,” Lamati said.

He said evidence-based solutions would help the department deal with macro and micro structural conditions so they do not become obstacles to the positive role of work.

The two-day research seminar, which started on Thursday, will unveil findings of research work the department had conducted internally.

The seminar is expected to share research findings by the Development Policy Research Unit of the University of Cape Town on the fourth industrial revolution.

Lamati in his address emphasised the need to re-configure a new way of working to bring relief to people and the desired long-term economic growth.

“In re-energising our efforts we need evidence to carve the best path to economic growth, these calls for scientific research.

“Our research unit is responsible to help us navigate that path better and as such they conduct research and liaise with other research institutions in the country to get that best knowledge on these matters,” Lamati.

The seminar takes place at the time when the South African economy was taking heavy punches from the ‘technical’ economic recession announced last week.

He said: “The current economy brings realism to many that we need to devise urgent measures that will cushion the most vulnerable against the effects of this economic downturn”.

“We are not the first to go through a recession and it is also not the first time that South Africa is hit by a recession. On the global front we can recall the Great Depression, which devastated the world in the early 20th century.

“At the time, states had to usher in a new era of state-intervention in the market to lift society out of poverty and unemployment. Our mandate expects us to take a similar course of action,” he said.

Lamati said the causes for South Africa’s current state was multifaceted and these can be attributed to the country’s limited ability to attract and keep investors, the economy needing a skilled workforce to grow, the economy not being able to create jobs even when it is on a growth trajectory.

Read: Working from home because of the coronavirus in South Africa – how your pay will be affected

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Government to look at measures to stop South African retrenchments