LABOUR: Transnet Workers Use Leverage
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE 8.5 percent wage increase granted to Transnet workers was unaffordable and would cost the country dearly in terms of real growth and job creation, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
“I suppose we should be pleased that agreement was reached at an early stage and without another strike, but the outcome is still a massive disappointment for business,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber.
“This is the second year in a row in which we have seen increases of more than double the rate of inflation and this sets an awful precedent that will be used to lever more big wage increases from commerce and industry. Increases like this make it difficult to create new jobs.”
He said the only possible justification for a pay rise of this order would be a big improvement in productivity, but the fact was that the country’s rail network was an underperforming sector of the transport industry while ports like Durban were in a state of crisis.
The Stellenbosch Bureau for Economic Research had pointed out that the country’s GDP was growing by four percent a year, driven mainly by an increase in retail spending fuelled by excessive wage increases rather than employment growth or productivity.
“There is no way that we can have four percent growth, 8.5 percent wage increases and still expect to create new jobs,” Mr Bagraim said. “The arithmetic just does not work.”
Mr Mike Walwyn, Chairman of the Cape’s Port Liaison Forum said South African port fees were among the highest in the world but productivity lagged far behind that of the leading international ports. “We have been spared the massive economic damage of another strike, but port fees will rise again and we will get less value for money so the situation is getting worse,” he said.
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