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gideonduplessisGideon du Plessis, general secretary of trade union Solidarity, notes the concerns expressed by experts such as emerging markets analyst Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments as well as ratings agencies about the worrying state of South African labour relations.  

In this same vein, investors at the World Economic Forum had the view that ongoing labour unrest would eventually result in an unstable and unproductive work environment.  To an extent, labour relations can be a power play between employers and unions and to restore a balance fire is sometimes used to fight fire.  But in essence, labour relations is about “relationships” and for that reason positive interventions are the preferred way of facilitating those relationships.  In addition to good communications, Du Plessis goes on to identify five ways in which labour relations can be improved, namely: putting an emphasis on safety; assisting employees to manage their funds; recognition of all trade unions and granting of equal organisational rights; making employees shareholders through vehicles such as Esops; and creating forums where consultation can take place.  Du Plesis expresses the view that healthy labour relations are not only possible but essential. (Loosely translated from Afrikaans)

  • Read this article by Gideon de Plessis in full in Afrikaans Netwerk24 (limit on access)

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