NEO-LIBERAL globalisation has contributed to the decline in economic activity and shrinking of formal employment in the Sadc region, a Southern Africa Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) official has said.
Speaking at the launch of the SATUCC Regional Campaign on Sadc Employment and Labour Protocol in Harare last week, SATUCC vice-president Godfrey Selematsela said neo-liberal globalisation had been the major driver of fundamental changes in the region’s labour market.
“Suffice to say that as a result of neo-liberal globalisation, full time, continuous employment where the employee works on the employer’s supervision, having an employment contract of indefinite duration, standardised working hours/weeks and sufficient social benefits such as pensions, unemployment and medical coverage, protection of employee have been eroded massively,” Selematsela said.
He said this had seen the region recording a very high number of vulnerable workers, most of them women and the youth and an increase in poverty and unemployment in the region.
This he said, posed a threat to the region’s prospects to meet regional integration and development goals and objectives as stipulated in the Sadc’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.
The Labour Protocol, Selematsela said, was therefore, developed as a direct response to the rising levels of precarious work and unemployment in the region.
He said the objectives of the employment protocol were to enhance cohesion and promote common approaches to labour market challenges among SADC member states and promote decent work.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president George Nkiwane said the launch came at a critical time when government was amending labour laws.
“Some of the issues being proposed mean that we are going a step back to the structural adjustment era where the government embraced what thy called flexible market policies. In essence, this is giving employers the right to hire and fire,” Nkiwane said.
He said it was not fair for the government to commodify labour and make it the sole factor of production.
“There are a lot of variables in the production chain like cost and availability of raw materials; is the machinery efficient and up to date? Is technology up to standard? What of the availability of water and electricity? We think sacrificing labour is unfair,” he said.
He said the ZCTU would soon rope in SATUCC in its fight against the attrition of workers’ rights.