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'Urgent labour solutions needed'

Solutions to income inequality and labour market instability need to be found, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

"When we do succeed in finding solutions around these two issues... we will expand our economy and improve the livelihood of millions of South Africans," he told a labour relations indaba on Johannesburg's East Rand.

Collective bargaining in the country was under much stress. Settlement agreements were taking longer to fulfil, confidence in trade unions had been eroded, and confidence in business had weakened, Ramaphosa said.

The indaba was expected to discuss the implementation of a national minimum wage, income inequality, and the causes of the country's prevailing labour relations environment.

Delegates from government, labour, business, and community organisations were attending the event.

Ramaphosa said interventions which would lead to improved labour relations were needed.

"What we do today... will undoubtedly shape our chances of improving long-term growth, and key to our chances of improving growth will be our ability to come to a shared vision.

"We need to find common solutions to common problems that we face," he said.

The key issue was finding how to implement the national minimum wage.

Ramaphosa said he "could smell an agreement" on many of the issues and urged delegates reach such an agreement.



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