EDITORIAL | Not much to celebrate on Workers’ Day
This country’s 25th Workers’ Day has come and gone, its purpose once more having been to honour the countless South Africans who form the backbone of this economy.
Of course, May 1 is also a sobering reminder that SA’s unemployment rate, hovering around the 27% mark, remains among the worst in the world.
It seems there was not very much at all to celebrate this Workers’ Day and indeed today we also report on the depressing reality facing so many in and around the Bay.
Hundreds of people have already been laid off, or are in the process of being axed, as companies struggle to keep their doors open.
It is a heart-breaking prospect that many will soon not be able to put food on the table for their families. Others will see the erosion of hard-earned savings, if they are fortunate enough to have savings given how many jobs have been unable to keep pace with inflation in recent years.
The economy is in the doldrums, investors are jittery and the outlook seems gloomy all round – and not just in SA. Worldwide we are seeing flat economies and workers being laid off.
One of the biggest headaches in SA is where our youth will find jobs. This sector is among the worst plagued by crippling unemployment, placing millions of promising young lives at risk.
Times are tough and there are no quick fixes. Even a university degree is no guarantee of getting or retaining a job.
Workers of all ages will need to identify opportunities for up-skilling and multi-skilling in order to gain any edge possible.
Let us not even get started on what and how our future workforce is being educated. It is clear education at all levels must become a lot more practical and industry driven.
Our youth in particular will need to become drivers of their own fortunes; they will need to be taught at school already how to become entrepreneurs so that, if corporate placement is not an option one day, they will at least be in a position to create their own employment.