Dear Colleagues, Clients and Human Resource Practitioners,

Welcome back to 2013.

As on cue Cosatu opened the new year by supporting a call for a strike in the fruit industry in the Western Cape.  This call is insidious as it’s coupled with the boycott of our fruit industry.  This “scorched earth” policy seems to be the order of the day and it is sending a message to the rest of South Africa that the Unions don’t care about their members who are being used as “cannon fodder”.  The call for boycott of an industry will lead to bankruptcies and certainly lots of retrenchment.  We are told that almost 95% of the farmers in the fruit industry have settled wage agreements with their staff and so therefore a call for a strike and a boycott is ridiculous.  Over and above this the Department of Labour tell us that they are almost ready to make proposals for a new wage determination.

On the good side of labour relations, the Government can be more proactive as Mangaung is now over and we need to get down to stabilising South Africa.  We have great faith in Cyril Ramaphosa who looks destined to take the Presidency in a few years time.  Mr Ramaphosa comes from a Union background and now certainly understands business.  We think this spells great things for South Africa over the next few years.

Hopefully the Department of Labour will take another careful look at the suggested labour legislation proposals.  Many of these proposals are counter productive and more restrictive on business.  Our understanding was that the ANC was very careful not to upset Cosatu whilst they were campaigning for the leadership positions in the ANC.  This is all over and the ANC will probably now look at what is best for South Africa as opposed to parochial interests.  It’s interesting to read the predictions for 2013 with regard to Europe.  The Economist in “ The World in 2013 “ quotes from the Prime Minister of Italy (Monti) as follows:  “I am particularly proud to have injected more competition and dynamism into the economy, for example in professional services and the energy sector.  This creates a more propitious environment for business, boosting employment and giving lower prices to consumers.  The labour market has become more flexible which will increase productivity and encourage companies to hire”.  It’s statements like these that give you hope for the future.  This message about the labour market becoming more flexible is being spread across the world and hopefully South Africa will follow suit.

Bagraims Attorneys and our Associates Altitude Employment Solutions are feeling strong about 2013.  We are well geared to represent our Clients in every single labour arena.  The reputation of our work over the past many years has stood us in good stead and we look forward to advising, representing, training and drafting for many years to come.

We wish everyone a successful, healthy and happy new year and look forward to interacting with everyone over 2013.