Trade Unions' Role within the South African Economy

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Trade unions play a significant role within the South African economy and have been active in responding to the fiscal policies of government. COSATU has played an influential role in South Africa since its conception in December 1985, and is aimed at improving their members working conditions and ensuring participation in the struggle for peace and democracy. COSATU has provided various proposals regarding changes to the National Budget, aimed at economic growth and job creation support. As a leading trade union, with many members, COSATU represents a good portion of the nation’s workforce and is thus a good indication of changes the population would make to the national budget. COSATU has voiced its opinions quite loudly about the flaws within the National Development Plan that played a vital role in the 2014 Budget Speech by Minister Pravin Gordhan. The main objection being the proposed jobs plan whereby the target, to be reached by 2030, is the creation of 11 million jobs by way of the service sector and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s). COSATU’s strategies co-ordinator in the secretariat, Neil Coleman, has stated that evidence has shown that SMME’s have a lower rate of job creation as opposed to their larger firm equivalents and that the Plan’s implementation would likely lead to few, low quality jobs being created. (Neil Coleman, Daily Maverick, National Development Plan: The devil is in the economic detail, 3 April 2013) The government’s proposed plan
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