IntroductionLabour issues have become a popular conversation of late in the global international business world, In this paper in this paper I plan to talk about labour issues in a global compact business platform. What comes to mind when we talk of labour issues in the global business context. Firstly how do we or one define labour issues? Labour on its own is defined as a service provided by the human workforce in a labour market which is a place where employees / workers interact with each other. It further goes on to state that the employers compete against one another to find the best suited employees and on the other hand the employers fight each other to find the best suited and satisfying jobs.Labour issues are a very broad and extremely wide topic, it entails so many avenues which at times some can be seen as human rights issues but in this case we will look at a few of the main issues aired out on a regular basis. Although just like culture and social behaviour every region and country has its own labour laws and regulations. However the United Nations provides an international guidance and policy on labour, this is called the international labour organisation (ILO 1996).
Child labour Children are the future of the nation as stated by fomer president of south Africa and father of Africa nelson mandela, ” there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” According to (Angnihotram, 2005) the term child labour itself is mostly defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical mental development. It refers to The ILO estimated in 1996 that there were 120 million full-time working children ranging from 5 to 14 years. This figure is doubled when part-time working children are taken into consideration. The distribution of child labour indicates that this phenomenon is located primarily in developing countries, viz. Asia 61%, Africa 32% and Latin America 17% (Grootaert ; Patrinos, 1999). Nevertheless, the highest proportion of child workers in relation to the total population is in Africa (Fyfe, 1989).
Compared against global estimates, child labour in South Africa has been underestimated, contributing largely to the low-priority status it is accorded. According to the Labour Directorate there were about 200 000 children working in South Africa in 1997 (Department of Labour, 1998), some as young as 5 years. Without conclusive research into the problem of child labour, it can be argued that this figure is a conservative estimate as a large percentage of “unseen” child labour is not accounted for. This includes unpaid domestic work and work in the informal sector.
Other related activities that are neglected in the estimation are the increasing number of child prostitutes, largely as the result of the increasing number of street children.