Jobs at risk if worker mix reforms don’t pass: South African companies
The survey, conducted by leading industry groups including Business SA, Master Builders SA, Motor Trade Association SA, Food SA, The Australian Industry Group and SA Wine Industry Association, found that only a quarter of the 756 companies that responded could absorb the increased costs of ReturnToWorkSA premiums.
Earlier this month, the Malinauskas government introduced legislation aimed at closing a perceived loophole in the state’s back-to-work law by ensuring workers’ injuries are addressed individually rather than cumulatively.
The proposed laws were introduced following a landmark court ruling in favor of injured truck driver Shane Summerfield, who was permanently injured after a 2016 workplace accident.
Summerfield was awarded additional compensation for complications from his initial injuries, including lameness and ongoing back pain.
The government says the proposed changes to the law would prevent the workforce from paying a higher premium.
But he has faced a backlash from the labor movement and the Labor state executive, which last week demanded the withdrawal of the proposed laws, fearing injured workers could be aggravated.
Business groups say that if the legislation is not passed, bonuses will rise by 30%, leaving employers no choice but to limit pay rises, cut staff and cut hours.
The survey, conducted between June 8 and 10, found that 98% of companies did not support the premium increase.
It found that 57% of companies would pass on increased costs to customers, while 49% would limit wage increases.
Additionally, 31% of companies said they would reduce their workforce, while 24% said they would reduce staff hours.
“What we’re seeing here is the perfect storm of rising costs for business,” said Kendall Crowe, director of policy and advocacy for Business SA.
“Moms and dads who own these businesses will soon have big decisions to make – pass the costs on to customers, downsize or close the doors for good.”
Master Builders SA CEO Will Frogley said business owners were “frustrated and bewildered and some are downright angry”.
“The building and construction industry is facing the highest material cost inflation in 40 years and cannot afford further cost increases,” he said.
SA Wine Industry Association chief executive Brian Smedley added that “almost all” businesses had already faced increases in the cost of materials, transport and products, and that three-quarters had seen their bills drop. electricity increase.
Meanwhile, the ACTU has become the latest union to speak out against the proposed changes.
Speaker Michele O’Neill called on the government to “sit down with unions and health experts” to discuss the impact the proposed laws would have on injured workers.
‘Australia knows all too well the devastating impact of unsafe work practices,’ she said.
“Every year in Australia, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job or die of diseases caused by their work.”
The Liberal party hall is meeting this morning to determine its position, while cross-bank parties including the Greens and SA Best have already been critical and have urged the Government not to rush proposed changes through Parliament.
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