THE youth wage subsidy proposed, under the false logic that youth unemployment will be decreased by this absurd proposal where the employers are paid to hire young people, will only serve to create and consolidate a two-tier employment system that will further exploit and divide the wealth gap as more money will go to employers who use cheap labour subsidised by government to the detriment of formal labour.
Our decent work campaign is premised on the fact that not only job creation is a priority, but the creation of sustainable, adequate jobs that are humane and compliant with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Labour Relations Act and other legislation which promote decent work and sustainable livelihoods.
A two-tier labour market will not be in the interests of the nation, and will further aggravate the unemployment issue and alienate the youth that will enter the labour market from the current employees that are within the system. Big business and capital never support programmes that are aimed at improving the lives of the people and are solely focused on profit.
I advise the DA to think deeply and do proper working class orientated research so as to deepen its understanding of the historical and current dynamics that gave and still give rise to the scourge of youth unemployment.
We must continue to encourage government in intensifying its resolve on ensuring that the principle of decent work guides all labour processes and that the state must continue to intervene in the economy so that it is able to generate opportunities for investment, entrepreneurship, skills development, job creation and sustainable livelihoods within the confines of a people-driven developmental state.
I support a comprehensive approach to youth employment which includes an integrated, seamless education, a skilling and development programme that will benefit young people and prepare them to contribute to our nation and in turn develop themselves in building the next economically active generation. The government must ensure the expanded public works programme (EPWP) is well articulated and is implemented at local government level.
Entrants into the EPWP should progress through a tiered programme of skills development commensurate to the wage and level of employment, and this should be done in conjunction with the FET sector and the direct involvement of the various Setas.
It is important that the investment in the non-state sectors of our economy continues to increase labour absorption and to serve as a catalyst for experience provision to young people who are alienated by calls of lack of experience.
Monopoly capital continues exerting pressure for greater labour market flexibility. Our government has failed to hold big business, in particular, and the private sector, in general, to our collective need to create employment.
Instead we seek to incentivise capital greed by proposing the youth wage subsidy as our response to this crisis. The Progressive Youth Alliance continues to reject this option of a youth wage subsidy and maintains that such a reformist intervention will create instability in an already precarious employment situation by allowing the establishment of a permanent reserve of youth casualties in a two tier labour market.
The youth wage subsidy is not intended to serve the interests of young people, but instead the interest of capital as a tax incentive. This is no different to the approach of opposition parties that advocate for such in order to disadvantage the poorest of the poor of young people from living a better, meaningful and sustainable life as it will undoubtedly lead to an entire generation of young people delivered to mass exploitation through not being paid a living wage.
Implementing the youth wage subsidy further has the potential to deepen the crisis whereby older, unskilled people are rejected in favour of youth for the purposes of claiming subsidy, underpinned by capitalist greed.
We must, of necessity and of urgency, explore alternatives to the challenges confronting us. These alternatives have as their foundation irreversible and equitable redress and redistribution of the commanding heights of the economy.
Such alternatives should include the recognition of experiential learning where experience is required. National service must be compulsory for one year following the completion of any undergraduate degree to ensure that young people are provided with the necessary life orientation and practical skills that shall be expected of them as they participate meaningfully in the economy.
Therefore, the wage subsidy must not be used as a short cut to address youth unemployment.
Gift Ngqondi, chairman, ANC Ernest Malgas branch (New Brighton), Port Elizabeth