Workers' Month programme gaining momentum

Thursday, May 16, 2019

As part of Workers’ Month, Labour Inspectors are on a blitz in which they are conducting workplace walkabouts in the Free State.

The inspection started in Jacobsdal were two farms were visited for pep talks with workers on labour legislation such as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA) and the new National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA).  

Some of the pertinent issues raised by workers related to the failure of the employer to issue them with hard copies of their pay slips. 

In Zastron and Bethulie, the focus was on the Wholesale and Retail sector and a total of three retail stores were visited.

Issues raised during these visits related to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the application thereof. Information relating to the Unemployment Insurance Act, and how to apply for benefits thereto, was also requested by workers.

In addition to the workplace walkabouts, the Department also conducted blitz inspections to check the level of compliance to labour laws. 

To this end, a total of 14 workplaces have been inspected in the Wholesale and Retail sector in the Bethlehem and Reitz areas. 

Flowing from those inspections, a total of four workplaces were found to comply with Labour Legislations whilst ten of those inspected were found wanting in terms of compliance to some provisions of labour legislation. 

Owing to that, a total of nine Compliance Orders and one written undertaking were served on non-complying employers.

Free State acting Head of the Department of Labour, Emily Maneli, said the picture is worrying and signals the need for the department to be more vigilant and resolute against unscrupulous employers who continue to flout the law.

“This is really a serious indictment on our efforts to rid workplaces off non-compliance tendencies,” Maneli said, adding that more inspections will be conducted in the Agriculture Sector in areas such as Frankfort and Reitz. 

“We really are going to leave no stone unturned in our endeavor to unearth anomalies taking place in the workplace.  Ours is to make sure that we protect workers, vulnerable workers in particular, and we are saying to all those employers failing workers that, be warned, we are going to come down very hard on you,” Maneli added.

Meanwhile, the Compensation Fund is hosting a breakfast networking session in partnership with the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) this morning.

The engagement is part of a national initiative by the Compensation Fund to interact with its stakeholders and improve relations.

The spotlight of the networking session will focus on the role of the Compensation Fund, the New proposed Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Bill update and the New Employers Assessment Model Regulation update. -