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Apr 10 2012 10:32AM
'Ticking time bomb', 108,000 jobs created
Temporary employment grew by 11.3 percent, and permanent jobs grew by 9.2 percent. Picture: Gallo Images
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Phuti Mosomane and Sapa

It was deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe who warned that youth unemployment is a ticking time-bomb. According to the Adcorp Employment Index released on Tuesday, around 108,000 jobs were created in March, up from 24,000 in February.

"Our country is not insulated from these challenges especially because we have close to 2.8 million young people between ages of 18-24 that are unemployed and not in any institution of learning.

"This statistic represents the ticking time-bomb that threatens to aflame pent-up emotions within the youth if not urgently addressed.

In the face of this, there is bound to be imperviousness to rational debates on development and these will eventually entrench the feelings of despondency and apathy because we would have failed to equip youth with alternatives." he said

The situation is improving, Adcorp Employment Index shows that employment was also higher than the 80,000 created in January and the figure, the strongest since the 2009 recession, showed that employment grew at an annualised rate of 6.8 percent for March.

Temporary employment grew by 11.3 percent, and permanent jobs grew by 9.2 percent.

Growth in the informal sector was 0.6 percent and agency work dropped by 3098 jobs.

Employment growth in transport and logistics grew by 15.2 percent, electricity and utilities 13.3 percent, and mining 12 percent.

Researchers examining trends in employment figures in the latest index flagged a "growing crisis" in the South African trade union movement.

“Since 2006 trade unions have lost 129,424 members which translates to a loss of R95,773,760 per annum in membership dues,” Adcorp's labour market analyst Loane Sharp said in a statement.

Three major setbacks for unions have been the reduction in their numbers since 2006 with total membership falling from around 3.5 million to around 3.3 million; low participation in strikes with only 1.4 percent of members turning out for strikes since 2006, and strike attendance ranging from zero percent to 8.8 percent.

Union membership in the mining sector has seen membership as high as 80.7 percent, while in agriculture just 4.4 percent of employees belong to a union, Adcorp said.

“Where trade unions have been successful is in raising wages,” said Sharp.

Between 1995 and 2011, after inflation, remuneration in the non-agricultural sector increased from R9378 per month to R12,564 per month.

In the 15 years since the Labour Relations Act was introduced, after-inflation wages increased by 28.8 percent.

But, said Sharp, unions had failed in the area of labour relations.

In 2010/2011 the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration received 156,000 referrals, 62 percent of which were settled in favour of employees against employers.

The Labour Court made 2042 decisions in 2011 with only 50 percent in favour of employees.

The statistics revealed that workplace conflict had been largely unchanged over the last 10 years.

Sharp believed the rising occurrence of industrial action was not symptomatic of genuine employer/employee conflict, but was a response to gradually declining union membership and lower worker participation in strikes. -Sapa

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