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Deputy Labour Minister, iNkosi Holomisa to deliver key address on debate on the future of work in South Africa and Germany

by lloyd last modified 2017-11-28 14:29


Technological changes and digitalisation are a significant global trend, constantly reshaping economies and societies, at high speed and often in radical ways, and for the first time South Africa and Germany will convene a two-day conference in Cape Town from 4-5 December 2017 to share knowledge and experiences on issues of mutual interest.

With increasing diffusion of new technology, globalisation has also gained new momentum and quality, reinforcing the need for solutions to address the consequences of structural change and development. The over-arching challenge is to enable all workers, sectors and regions to make the transition to the new world of work. This also poses new requirements for young people entering the labour market, especially with regard to required skills and competences.

The theme of the conference is: “Digitalisation and Employment: Effective Strategies in shaping the Future of Work”. The two-day conference will be held at Hotel Marriott Crystal Towers, in Cape Town.

Building upon the national dialogues, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) framework and the G20 Policy Priorities on the Future of Work, the conference may address the following aspects:

·          Preventive labour market policy: What role can labour market policy play in preventing technological unemployment and support the creation of quality jobs in times of structural change? Which instruments are necessary, in particular regarding skills in the digital world?

·          Social security in the digital age: Which mechanisms of social security can be provided for workers in the digital world? How to reform existing social security systems to include new forms of work (e.g. crowd working, free-lancers, self-employed)?

·          Future proofing labour law: How can the legal frameworks evolve in response to a growing diversification of new and/or non-standard forms of employment without putting standard forms of employment at risk?

·          Agile industrial relations: How to make co-determination work for all workers, including in new types of employment (e.g. platform workers)? What are appropriate collective bargaining solutions? How to foster innovation to harness technological change for better work? Is there a place for “innovation spaces” within companies to try out different arrangements of work organization, work design and working time?

During the conference there will be a panel discussion on challenges and opportunities on the digital transformation for labour and employment in SA and Germany, discussion of policy issues on digitalization and employment.

South Africa’s Deputy Labour Minister, iNkosi Phathekile Holomisa and Germany Secretary of State - Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Thorben Albrecht will deliver keynote addresses. They will share the platform with SA’s Department of Labour Director-General, Thobile Lamati; and German Ambassador in SA, Martin Schäfer. The conference is also expected to be addressed by representatives from Business unity south Africa (Busa), worker federations,  academia, major corporations, government departments and employer federations from both countries.

As part of the ILO Centenary Initiative on the Future of Work, the South African Department of Labour has commissioned a series of studies on selected issues related to the future of work that were discussed intensively with various stakeholders at a National Dialogue on the Future of Work in February 2017. On its part the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in 2015 conducted a two-year comprehensive public dialogue process on the future of work.

As partners in the G20, Germany and South Africa have agreed on G20 Policy Priorities on the Future of Work under this year’s German G20 Presidency. These can serve as an excellent basis for this more in-depth bilateral exchange among the two countries.

Despite substantial differences between the two countries, Germany and South Africa also share important communalities, in particular with regard to labor laws labour administration systems as well as the system of industrial relations. In addition, both countries share common goal of promoting decent work, preventing precarious employment, and fostering inclusive growth. Both countries pursue these objectives based on similar models of social partnership. South Africa and Germany are also long-standing political and economic partners: about 600 German companies have operations in South Africa with about 100.000 employees.

Through the conference the two countries expect seek to exchange experiences to create awareness of possible policy solutions; commit to development of effective solutions of how companies in both countries cope with effects of digitalization; and develop common positions in international debates on maters of technological changes.

The conference will be attended by the senior officials from Germany, Department of Labour, academia, other government Departments; and social partners as well as the ILO and the GIZ, a German development agency.

Media is invited to the conference starting at 09:45am.

Issued by:  

Department of Labour: Departmental Spokesperson

Teboho Thejane

082 697 0694

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