All systems go for Nedlac’s 28th Annual National Summit

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The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) is kicking off its 28th Annual National Summit on Friday.

Stakeholders hope the summit will strengthen collaboration and communication amongst the various social partners.

The Nedlac Summit provides an opportunity for social partners from organised business, community, government and organised labour to receive and consider a report on the activities of the institution.

The role of Nedlac is to impact policy and legislation, whilst ensuring social partners comment on important socio-economic policies and bills.

The summit is an occasion for Nedlac and its social partners to report and reflect on the previous fiscal year.

Discussions and interactions are expected to focus on the critical role of social partners in addressing and overcoming crisis situations like COVID-19, climate change, load shedding and logistical constraints.

Nedlac’s Executive Director, Lisa Seftel says the summit provides an opportunity to take stock and to improve collaboration in addressing the country’s most pressing issues.

“I think it depends on the timing and the issues about the extent to which we have built trust and the extent to which we can collaborate. There are some issues on which we have collaborated well together and there’s a lot of consensus about the way forward, including the electricity crisis and the freight and logistics crisis. There are other issues, for example the issues on labour legislation and changes to labour legislation where I think it’s harder for social partners, who represent different interests, to collaborate and reach a common view.”

Cosatu’s parliamentary co-ordinator, Matthew Parks, says there is a need for greater commitment from business and government to uphold Nedlac resolutions.

He says Nedlac has been useful as a social dialogue body to raise issues, that seeks to undermine collective bargaining and social compacting.

“We know there are times we have to make compromises we don’t like, but that’s part of the nature of negotiations. But we’ve been quite pleased with the work of Nedlac. We’ve seen in the past few years, especially during COVID and even before that, it’s been recognised by business, by government, by media and so forth, as a place where we resolve our problems as a society, where you get the views of business, labour and government on how to resolve them. It’s not perfect and the fact that we have a 42% unemployment rate and load shedding, shows you how much more work we have to deal with, and how much more we have to try to resolve collectively.”

The 28th Annual Nedlac Summit is expected to draw more than 200 delegates, including key social partner representatives from labour, government, business and communities and other invited guests.