PRETORIA, June 1 (NNN-BUANEWS) -- South African Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has voiced the hope that 2011 will see improved labour relations in workplaces throughout the country.
Addressing the National Council of Provinces in Parliament (NCOP) Tuesday, Oliphant said South Africa had experienced a significant increase in industrial action through strikes, and that lessons should be learnt from that.
"It would be important to study and derive lessons from these industrial actions with a view to confronting and improving on the labour relations system. It should also be remembered that labour relations in itself requires ongoing engagement and refinement from time to time," she said.
Oliphant said the focus should be on bringing about stability and industrial peace.
With regard to labour brokering, the minister said they were looking at amending the labour legislations to address abusive tendencies.
"We do this well aware, that amending this legislation will have important consequences for the operation of the labour market system," Oliphant said.
She told the NCOP members that her department would continue to work constructively with the social partners to find appropriate labour frameworks that give sufficient protection to workers that have been rendered vulnerable to certain abuses.
"We will do so, mindful that our policies should not have negative consequences for employment. We will continue to step up our commitment to improve our employment services to contribute to job creation in South Africa," she said.
According to Oliphant, for the period up to March 2011, the Unemployment Insurance Fund paid benefits to 693,000 beneficiaries, with a total value of 5.3 billion Rand (one USD = about 6.81 Rand), compared with 779,604 beneficiaries with a total value R5.7 billion the previous year.
During the 2010/11 financial year, the department's employment services managed to register 472,179 job seekers.
The service managed to link 70 per cent of these registered job seekers to career counselling, skills development interventions and work placement opportunities.