BUSINESS IS NOT THE ENEMY OF THE UNEMPLOYED

Xolile Mpini CEO Langeberg Unemployed Forum

Mon Feb 14 2022 22:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Our Langeberg Unemployed Forum have noted with great concern the bullying of businesses in Gauteng by some who say they represent the unemployed people of South Africa. They demand that unemployed people must be employed and want to use force to make employers agree to their demands. We want to state categorically that we associate ourselves with the struggles of the unemployed, wherever they might be, but we disagree with anyone who wants to use force to achieve their objective.

Unemployed people must understand that business owners never promised us jobs, it was the politicians who promised us jobs, so we must direct our anger to those politicians, and they are all represented in Parliament. Unemployed people must regard businesses as their friends who are potential employers.
The challenge facing us is that the government does not listen to the unemployed people but only listens to university professors who are detached from the conditions faced daily by the unemployed people. We blame Parliament for creating the unemployment monster, which is the biggest threat to peace and security in South Africa.

Unemployed people are not represented in the decision-making processes in Nedlac, the National Minimum Wage Commission or the Bargaining Councils where minimum wages and conditions of employment are set by government, big labour and business. How can this be?. Nothing about us without us, we say!

We want to state very clearly that unemployed people of South Africa are failed by those 400 law makers who care only for themselves and their families. Unemployed people are not taken seriously in South Africa. In fact we are not even considered important enough to think about.

Government, who should know better, has resorted to short cuts, thinking that giving unemployed people a R350 grant will solve the high unemployment rate. They make a serious mistake if they think grants will reduce unemployment.

We have a simple, low-cost solution, that will rapidly reduce unemployment if it is adopted. It is called the Job Seekers Exemption Certificate.

Write the Job Seekers Exemption Certificate (JSEC) into the law.

The Job Seekers Exemption Certificate is a legal document we are proposing that will release long term unemployed people from the shackles of the labour laws and it will do that without affecting the protection that the labour laws give to those who are already employed. It is not magic, but it will work like magic.

This simply means that unemployed people must be allowed to negotiate basic conditions of employment and wage with potential employers ourselves within the framework of JSEC.

If unemployed people are able to get a JSEC that gives them two years to find a job for themselves, with all the power in their own hands to take any job they want to, at any wage or working conditions that they are prepared to accept their lives will be changed forever.

They will learn skills and climb up the job ladder instead of sitting at home with their hearts bleeding because they are not able to work and care for their families. This must be one of many choices available to the unemployed people to restore their dignity and take their rightful place in their communities.

As the Langeberg Unemployed Forum we say “JSECs now!”

This is how JSEC is explained in the book where it is published:

1. People who have been unemployed for six months or longer automatically qualify for Job Seekers Exemption certificates (“JSECs”)

2. A simple procedure
Applicants complete an online form and, on penalty of false declaration, sign a statement confirming the period for which they have been unemployed. JSEC Certificates are issued immediately.
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3. The exemption covers all labour laws – in full
One of the main purposes of the JSEC is to give its holder the opportunity to change jobs more easily...

4. Employer protection is complete:
It is the employee and not the employer who enjoys exemption from the labour laws. It also means however, that employers are protected from the provisions of the labour law.

5. JSEC certificates should be valid for at least two years
Exemption terms should be long enough for JSEC holders to secure their positions in the employment market.

6. Trade unions should support JSECs, who should face few restrictions on their choice of employer
The greater the number of firms able to participate, the quicker the unemployment rate will go down and the quicker new union members can be recruited. Trade unions might want to limit competition from JSECs in some big companies but unskilled JSECs will do lower-level jobs and not compete with skilled union workers...
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7. Basic, simple, employment contracts
Written employment contracts with JSECs must be compulsory so that there can be no doubt as to the basis of their employment’.