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Based on the 2018/19 annual report from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), the outlook is bleak for the building and construction industry.

This is due to it continuing to register major job losses and retrenchments.

According to the report, the construction sector recorded 3,584 employees facing retrenchment — the highest among all sectors — adding more strain on South Africa’s 29% unemployment rate.

The Construction Industry Development Board (cidb) says insufficient demand for building and construction work remains a constraint for the industry and is unlikely to improve in the near term.

Its third-quarter SME Confidence Survey, released on Tuesday, shows that the domestic building and construction industry continues to struggle amid these tough economic conditions.

The sector is heavily reliant on the government’s infrastructure spending trends.

The Building Construction and Allied Workers Union (BCAWU) asserts hat very little can be done to mitigate the retrenchments, because the entire industry is facing heightened uncertainty.

“Retrenchments in this industry have been happening for the past four years. Major construction companies which make up the top six have almost collapsed,” said BCAWU secretary-general Narius Moloto.

“These companies have not been getting any big projects, mainly because there hasn’t been any further allocation to develop infrastructure in South Africa.”

The second-highest number of retrenchments hit the mining sector, which recorded 3,260 job losses. The sector did, however, record slight positive gains in the quarterly survey with a 0.1% increase, employing 3,000 more people.

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