Mr Pike said labour market instability has been heightened by last year’s legislative amendments requiring equal pay for equal work and the requirement that temporary workers become permanent after three months of employment.  Employers had responded to the increased costs involved by shedding jobs, he said.  Democratic Alliance labour spokesman Ian Ollis said the DA would welcome the introduction of strike ballots.  “What worries me most about the year ahead is the unemployment problem,” he said.  “Everyone is downsizing, even the public service, and the mines are laying off people.  The unemployment situation is going to get significantly worse this year.”  Department of Labour chief director Thembinkosi Mkalipi said the department’s legislative agenda is limited to beefing up the law on occupational health and safety and extending unemployment insurance benefits from nine to 12 months.  Legislative provision would have to be made for a national minimum wage once agreement had been reached within Nedlac.

Linda Ensor: Turbulence in labour sphere this year first published by Business Day on BDlive today.