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PDF Decent Work: Objectives And Strategies

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Add to Basket. Soft cover. Condition: Very Good. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description ILO, Seller Inventory U Items related to Decent Work: Objectives and Strategies. Decent Work: Objectives and Strategies. Publisher: International Labor Office , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Learn more about this copy. In support of this the South African government has pledged its commitment to the attainment of decent work and sustainable livelihoods for all workers and has undertaken to mainstream decent work imperatives into national development strategies.

The four strategic objectives of decent work as identified by the ILO are: i the promotion of standards and rights at work, to ensure that workers' constitutionally protected rights to dignity, equality and fair labour practices amongst others are safeguarded by appropriate legal frameworks; ii the promotion of employment creation and income opportunities, with the goal being "not just the creation of jobs, but the creation of jobs of acceptable quality"; 5 iii the provision and improvement of social protection and social security, which is regarded as fundamental to the alleviation of poverty, inequality and the burden of care responsibilities; and iv the promotion of social dialogue and tripartism.

While the ideals of decent work extend well beyond the confines of the employment relationship, this article will be limited to an analysis of five statistical indicators, namely: i employment opportunities; ii adequate earnings and productive work; iii stability and security of work; iv social protection; and v social dialogue and workplace relations; to measure progress made towards the attainment of decent work objectives in South Africa.

In so doing the obstacles to the attainment of decent work and the measures required to overcome such obstacles are identified. The South African work force is subject to both formal and informal employment relationships. According to the Quarterly Labour Survey for the 1 st quarter of 6 there are In contradiction the Adcorp Employment Index September reports that The report indicates that 6.

Sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth

An increased reliance upon outsourcing and sub-contracting arrangements has given rise to the growing "casualisation" 11 of the labour market and an unregulated and insecure labour force. The Adcorp Employment Index September reports that employees are currently employed by temporary employment agencies. In terms of this triangular employment relationship the recruitment, dismissal and employment functions normally performed by employers are outsourced to an intermediary, while the "task side" of the relationship is not outsourced.

Women are mainly concentrated in the feminised professions such as nursing and teaching this is horizontal occupational segregation while at the same time remaining in lower job categories than men while this is vertical occupational segregation and remain grossly underrepresented in senior positions.

Factsheet: Strategic Objectives for Decent Work Agenda

Of these, women held only 4. Despite this, women constituted The concentration of women in low-paid jobs, with limited access to job security and benefits, has contributed to the increasing "feminisation of poverty". An analysis of the employment-to-population ratio for persons aged years the "youth" population between and reveals that the percentage of the youth population employed dropped from Nonetheless 4.

Discouraged work seekers 26 constitute 2. The global economic crisis that has resulted in limited available credit, trade finance and investments in the real economy, cautious spending leading to lower economic output, decreased employment and a lack of consumer and investor confidence has further served to undermine governmental efforts to combat unemployment. In order to overcome the decent work deficit in South Africa, job creation is imperative.

The concept of decent work entails the existence of employment opportunities for all who are willing and able to work.


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The South African Decent Work Country Programme prioritises "job rich growth, sustainable enterprises including formalization of the informal sector, and skills development". An important indicator of decent work is the extent to which a country's population is employed. A number of national policies and institutional structures have been established, with the technical and policy support of the ILO, to facilitate job creation.

The Expanded Public Works Programme aims to create job opportunities for the unemployed with particular focus on women, youth and other vulnerable groups. The ILO has supported government in the design of the programme and has assisted in its implementation at national and provincial levels. However, research indicates that, in spite of the creation of new jobs during phase one of the programme , these jobs were short-term, poorly remunerated and without benefits.

A simultaneous loss of jobs during this period, attributable to the global recession, undermined any gains made.

The Challenge

A target of creating 2 million full-time jobs during phase two of the programme has been set, yet progress towards the attainment of these goals has been slow. Government's New Growth Path, premised on a restructuring of the South African economy, sets an ambitious target of creating 5 million new jobs by , through planned infrastructure development and focus on the manufacturing, agricultural, tourism and mining sector and the green economy. In furtherance of the governmental objective of ensuring that young people have access to "decent work in productive and competitive enterprises" 37 the implementation of a youth wage subsidy, which aims to subsidise a portion of the wages of workers aged 18 to 29 years for a period of up to two years,is currently under discussion at NEDLAC.

Despite having been earmarked as South Africa's "year of job creation" 40 early indications are that these ideals have not been realised, nor are likely to be. The South Africa Survey notes that the current rate of job creation will need to increase ten-fold in order to meet government's job creation target of 5 million jobs by External economic factors, labour regulation, and policies affecting investor sentiment will all play a role in determining how much employment will increase over the next decade.

The Government has control over two of these three influences and it will need decisive action on its part to create the conditions necessary for so many jobs to be created over a relatively short space of time. Until job creation can be effectively addressed, decent work objectives are likely to remain solely aspirational. An adequate living wage is imperative for the attainment of decent work. There is a direct relationship between low wages and poverty. While minimum wages 59 have been established for domestic workers, farm workers, forestry workers and the informal taxi and hospitality sectors - thereby extending protection to more than 3 million workers in South Africa - the income disparities that characterise the South African labour market must be dismantled before decent work objectives can be fulfilled.

Job security is regarded as a fundamental component of decent work.

Labour market reforms needed as Africa seeks to attain decent workenvironment

Job loss involves not only the loss of income but has far-reaching consequences for the dignity of employees and their family and community stability. Despite this, employees in atypical employment relationships and in informal employment face insecure and unstable working conditions. Temporary employment services contribute significantly towards externalisation and insecure working conditions. It is the client that "determines the parameters of the relationship and is dominant in the relationship". This vulnerability is at its most acute upon the dismissal of an employee, as the statutory protection against unfair dismissal is rendered impotent by carefully constructed contractual provisions that usually stipulate that employees of temporary employment service are employed in terms of "limited duration contracts" that are deemed to terminate automatically upon the happening of an uncertain future event.

Furthermore, outsourcing and subcontracting arrangements that create ambiguity as to the identity of the employer, the misuse of fixed-term contracts of employment and the fraudulent use of cooperatives have served to deprive employees of labour law protection and security of employment, and burden workers, their families and society with the costs associated with unregulated work. The proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act in the Labour Relations Amendment Bill 71 aim to regulate temporary employment services, fixed-term employment contracts and outsourcing arrangements in a bid to ensure decent work for all workers.

Adequate social protection, 73 fundamental to the attainment of decent work and poverty reduction, is necessary to provide security against a variety of contingencies and vulnerabilities. In South Africa the right to social security and assistance is constitutionally mandated 79 and in furtherance of this a number of legislative measures have been passed to regulate social insurance and assistance.

Despite this there is no comprehensive social security system and the provision of healthcare and retirement benefits is piecemeal and has been largely limited to employees in formal employment.


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  • In order to consider the effectiveness of the social protection afforded in South Africa, it is necessary to look at the extent and growth of social expenditure. This represents an increase of Notwithstanding these developments, and in spite of government's undertaking to prioritise the extension of social protection and security to both formal and informal employees, the social security system as it stands remains "fragmented and does not provide adequate coverage to ensure the protection of the economically active population".