CCMABL Premium reports that the jobs bloodbath caused by Covid-19 is expected to go up in 2021 and while the economy lost 2.2-million jobs last year, business expects SA to lose up to 4-million jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Labour analyst Michael Bagraim commented that things were looking worse this year. He indicated: “What’s been happening is, now that we have come back to work, small businesses are telling me they have to start retrenchments in 2021, because there is no help from the government.” Cameron Morajane of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) reported that from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020 they had received 985 large-scale referrals compared with 555 referrals in the matching period in 2019. He advised that there had been 39,566 retrenchments to date. While they had managed to save 30,199 jobs, he said another 71,099 workers were likely to be retrenched this year. Narius Moloto of labour federation Natu said the extended lockdown would lead to further job losses and he called on government to manage it better. Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla said everything was “unpredictable at this point”. He added that they were exploring avenues to cushion workers from the pandemic. Fedusa’s Riefdah Ajam said they anticipated a “bleak outlook” for 2021. She called for a moratorium on retrenchments. Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi said the key driver of poverty and unemployment in SA was joblessness, and stressed that the poor and the working class had been left – by government - to their “own devices to face grinding poverty and worsening deprivation”.

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