LACK of jobs are giving trade unions sleepless nights, Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.
“What gives labour sleepless nights is the fact that the economy is not creating jobs,” he told a labour relations indaba on the East Rand.
“In our view [unemployment]has reached catastrophic levels.”
The income inequality in the country was the highest of any major economy in the world and it was not getting better, Vavi said.
Referring to Statistics SA’s findings in 2013, Vavi said 50 percent of workers earned below R3033 a month.
He asked delegates to imagine earning only that and supporting a family.
“Business consistently argues that raising wages will lead to job losses, but there is no… relationship between jobs and wages.
“A special focus in the conservative Economist of November 24, 2012 concluded that ‘evidence is mounting that moderate minimum wages can do more good than harm’,” Vavi said.
He said the economy needed “shot in the arm” and more disposable income.
A national minimum wage had to be implemented as soon as possible and at a level sufficient to support a family of five. Â – SAPA