What exactly is ‘decent work’

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I HEREBY call on President Jacob Zuma, to please define what he refers to as “decent work”.

This term is often bandied about and was once again used in his state of the nation address.

Does he consider decent work to be directly related to the amount of remuneration received for said work, or does he consider decent work to be that which gives the worker some measure of satisfaction, or the feeling that they are contributing to the wellbeing of the community, their fellow man and society as a whole?

Some work is elevated to a level of more importance than other work, for example, a doctor performing surgery to save a life.

Let us not forget the cleaner who keeps the doctor’s working environment clean and free of life-threatening germs – his work is of equal importance, although not perceived by society to be as glamorous.

Our service delivery strikes are testament to the fact that there are many people in government departments who are receiving remuneration, but are not actually doing the work that they are being paid to do.

Whether this is due to the fact that they do not have the skills to do this work, onerous legislation that prevents speedy service delivery, or are just plain lazy, the fact remains that taxpayer’s money is being wasted, or dare I say it? – stolen!

There seems to be little or no accountability and even when corrupt government employees who misappropriate funds are caught, why do we never hear about the money having to be paid back?

They are often just redeployed to another department where they can continue their nefarious activities!

Whatever happened to an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay?

Our politicians seem to be more interested in putting food in their own mouths than those of the poor they are meant to be serving.

One only has to look at the many overweight MPs and their wives/partners who arrived for the R6-million taxpayer-funded state of the nation address to draw this conclusion.

What a future burden they are creating for our already over-burdened health care system.

There are plenty of people in this world who are stuck in a job that they do not enjoy, but they do it anyway to put food on the table.

There are others who really enjoy their work but receive little monetary compensation for their efforts.

Happy is the man who enjoys what he does for a living and is handsomely compensated for it!

So I ask you again, Mr Zuma, what is “decent work”?

Michelle Beckley, Port Elizabeth


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