DATE: 18 SEPTEMBER 2019
ATTENTION: MEDIA HOUSES AND EDITORS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUBJECT: DIALOGUE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS AND LABOUR IS CRUCIAL - EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR MINISTER, THULAS NXESI
“We encourage engagement with business to see where red tape can be removed and bureaucracy eliminated - easing the cost of doing business”, Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi said during his address at the CCMA’s Third Annual Shop Stewards and Union Officials Conference.
The conference, themed “The National Minimum Wage: The Post Implementation Conversation” was held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg from 12 -13 September 2019.
About 400 Shop Stewards and Union Officials across federations attended the two-day forum to discuss the impact of minimum wage on all sectors since the act came into force 01 January 2019.
The Minister said the Department was under no illusion that the NMW of R20 will end poverty in SA, but that it was a start in the struggle for decent work and wages.
CCMA case load increased substantially in the first half of the year as a result of the NMW. Between the period 01 January to 31 August 2019, the CCMA received 16 729 disputes cases relating to NMW and Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).
According to Professor Adriaan van der Walt, Chairperson of National Minimum Wage Commission, 475 exemption applications to pay minimum wage were received and of these, 289 were granted. The Manufacturing and Non Profit Organisations sectors have the highest recorded exemption applications with an estimated 40 000 workers affected.
Although most employers were complying with the NMW as inspection figures indicate, the same cannot be said for transformation in the labour market.
Minister Nxesi made a stern warning to employers who flouted the law and said Government will move to impose sanctions to companies that remain untransformed. Chairperson of Commission for Employment Equity, Tabea Kabinde once again presented the bleak picture of transformation in the labour market where white males still dominate in top management positions.
The Department of Employment and Labour hopes the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, once finalised, will afford it more powers to speed up transformation in the labour market. It will be a precondition for companies to have compliance certificates before they can do business with Government and stringent fines will be imposed on those that do not do business with Government but continue to disobey labour laws.
CCMA Director, Cameron Morajane called for a coherent and integrated enforcement approach within the labour market to detect non-compliance to employment laws and for regulators to decisively deal with defaulting companies.
He said that: “We must have a system that is able to detect non-compliance across-the-board. For example, company A might be found compliant with National Minimum Wage Act but non-compliant to Employment Equity Act. Through an integrated enforcement system, we will be better placed to enforce labour laws and ensure workers enjoy their constitutional right to a fair labour practice”, Director Morajane said.
Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeals Court, Basheer Waglay shared a similar vision with the CCMA Director, calling for a seamless system for labour dispute resolution. This is hoped will also address backlog at the Labour Court and speed up social justice for workers seeking relief.
Minister Nxesi Commended the CCMA for its outreach work. He said that: “in the advancement of social justice and stability within the labour market, shop stewards and union officials have to be knowledgeable and well-versed in CCMA jurisdiction and processes for effective dispute resolution.
“The CCMA has made the point that shop stewards and union officials are our eyes and ears on the ground. They are the first point of contact for any distressed employee seeking relief”, Minister Nxesi said.
The conference is part of the CCMA’s outreach and advocacy to capacitate social partners to ensure that workers know their rights and employers understand their obligations to workers on the National Minimum Wage Act and all employment laws.
For media enquiries, please contact Amos Tshabalala via email at amost@CCMA.org.za or via telephone at 011 377 6662 or mobile 071 108 9385
Issued by the CCMA
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