Cosatu, Saftu demand decisive leadership to alleviate SA's unemployment crisis

Cosatu has criticised government for implementing policies that do not place employment creation as a priority.

FILE: Unemployed builders, tilers and plumbers hold signs seeking jobs on the side of the road in Johannesburg in November 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Unions have demanded more decisive and serious political leadership to help alleviate South Africa's jobs crisis.

On Tuesday, Statistics South Africa revealed the country's official unemployment rate in the fourth quarter rose by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter to 35.3%.

Manufacturing and construction were the biggest losers, bleeding 85,000 and 25,000 jobs respectively.

Cosatu has criticised government for implementing policies that do not place employment creation as a priority.

In a statement, the trade union federation said that it was disappointed by government’s timid response in addressing issues such as load shedding.

Meanwhile, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has pointed out inconsistencies in the growth of certain industries and growth.

"On the 8th of March 2022, manufacturing and transport grew by 2.8% and 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021 respectively. Despite this positive growth in these sectors, unemployment was shed in the same quarter, increased productivity in those sectors was achieved with far less workers. This means exploitation was intensified to achieve those levels of production increases," said spokesperson Trevor Shaku.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke has pointed out how jobs in construction have been dwindling consistently over the past few years.