Cosatu denies blocking wage subsidy

Cosatu does not believe the Youth Wage Subsidy is the answer to unemployment.

DA leader Helen Zille addresses unemployed young people outside the Union Buildings on 10 September 2012. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Friday denied allegations it was intentionally perpetuating unemployment by influencing government to scrap the Youth Wage Subsidy.

Speaking in Orange Farm earlier this week, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille again alleged that government was bowing to the interests of its tripartite alliance partner by cutting the youth off from opportunity.

According to statistics, around half of South African youths are unemployed.

The proposed subsidy would allow employers to claim back half the cost of wages for youth employees at entry-level.

Cosatu's Patrick Craven said they did not believe the wage subsidy would make the required impact.

"What she [Zille] is doing is trying to create a completely artificial division between the interest of the unemployed and the employed, particularly those in Cosatu."

The wage subsidy was first announced by President Jacob Zuma two years ago.

Many organisations, including opposition parties, welcomed the plan.

But Cosatu rejected it.

In February, Zuma said an accord on the subsidy would be signed by the government, business and labour later in May, despite objections from Cosatu.

This is not the first time the two organisations have disagreed on the issue.

In May 2012, clashes broke out between DA and Cosatu protesters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, resulting in several injuries.