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Labour on Workers Month programme gaining momentum

Department of Labour's Workers Month programme gaining momentum

Labour Inspectors are up and about throughout the whole Free State province conducting blitz inspections and workplace walkabouts as part of the Department's 2019 Workers Month Programme.

Walkabouts were embarked upon in Jacobsdal area where pep talks were held with workers on labour legislation and the amendments thereof. To this end, information was shared on the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA), Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act (UICA, Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

The focus for these walkabouts was on the Agriculture sector and, as a result, two farms were visited. 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 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.

Some of the areas of non-compliance related to the following;

Non availability of Certificate of Compliance for the electrical installations

Unavailability of attendance registers

Failure to provide eating facilities for workers.

Failure to provide for safe working environment and failure to conduct risk assessments for their respective workplaces.

Stacking which is hazardous to employees health and safety

Failure to regularly service fire extinguishers for the workplace and to mount them at pre-determined locations in the workplace with the necessary signs.

This is a very worrying picture and signals the need for the Department to be more vigilant and resolute against to unscrupulous employers who continue to flout the law. This is really a serious indictment on our efforts to rid workplaces off non-compliance tendencies, said Emily Maneli the Acting Head of the Department of Labour in the Free State.

Today, May 15, 2019, more blitz 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, Ms Maneli warned.

Organised Labour is also accompanying Labour Inspectors to observe some of the challenges raised, and thereby make informed contributions on how the Department can better serve its clients, who are in turn, their affiliates.

Source: Government of South Africa

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