Business Welcomes Easing Of Labor Rules In S. Africa

Heeding protests from local and foreign investors, the South African government has announced detailed plans to relax strict labor laws introduced to protect workers after official racial discrimination, known as apartheid, was abolished in 1984. Rules to be eased include a 40-hour limit on the work week and mandatory double wages for Sundays. "Foreign companies are turning away from South Africa," says Gerrie Bezuidenhout, an official at the South African Chamber of Commerce. "Our labor regulations are too costly for a developing country that is struggling to compete in world markets against more productive rivals in Asia and Latin America." The new plans, announced by Labor Minister Membathisi Mdlalana, will, among other things, permit work weeks of up to 45 hours and simplify dismissal procedures for new personnel on probationary hire.

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