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Poor economic outlook means workers have the short end of the stick

Workers are increasingly under threat, because since the 2008 great depression the world of work has gradually changed and continues to change .

The nature of jobs, workplaces and employment patterns are very different from just a few years ago, weakening the bargaining muscle of trade unions.

We are heading towards a situation where the power lies with employers and where workers are forced to act compliant and available, while employers might exploit the situation and resort to unscrupulous behaviour. It is exactly for this reason that employees need protection in the workplace trough banding together and joining a union that can assist and protect them.

Challenges forced by poor economic growth have resulted in an ongoing onslaught by government and organised business to make it easier to fire workers.

  • There are 2 million employees less in both the mining and manufacturing sectors than in the early 1990’s, which causes a real threat to collective bargaining and increasingly leaves unorganised individual workers exposed to instances of unscrupulous behaviour by employers.
  • Employers are using the workers’ dire situation to gradually claw back on the gains made through concession bargaining over the years. This results in dwindling trade union figures and, to top it all, public opinion about unions is not very favourable.
  • Another concerning development is that a number of employers sporadically open themselves up to corruption charges as payroll deductions are made, but are not paid over to the relevant third parties. These deductions include pension fund, medical aid, trade union subscriptions, unemployment insurance fund and other deductions.
  • In extreme cases companies are liquidated, and these deductions that were not paid over to third parties, then become part of a claim by an employee as one of the creditors in the liquidation process. Very often, employees never see their hard earned money that has been deducted in this manner.

Since there are no clear signals that the economy will boom any time soon, workers will be in for an increasingly tough ride. This makes it all the more important for them to organise their workplaces under the umbrella of a trade union equipped to take up matters on their behalf.

For further information or to set up an interview, please contact

Andre Venter at 083 251 3274.