The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says they are concerned that if urgent action is not taken, unemployment in the country will continue to escalate.

The federation has called for the amendment of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act to make it more difficult for employers to retrench workers.

Many firms in the banking and mining sector are planning to retrench their workers because of the difficult economic environment in the country.

According to the latest Statistics South Africa figures, South Africa’s unemployment has reached 29%.

Cosatu’s first deputy president Mike Shingange says companies are misusing the Act in its current form.

“We need to make it difficult or even harder for the employers to retrench willy-nilly. We know that section 189 provides for employers to retrench for operational reasons. We know that companies in the past three months have been complaining about the country’s economic situation and that is why they are retrenching in the masses that they are.”