Source: South Africa News Agency
The Department of Employment and Labour has called for maximum labour law compliance in the agriculture sector during a seminar targeted at employers, employees, employer organisations and trade unions.
The department hosted an agriculture sector seminar in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, under the theme, ‘Paying the National Minimum Wage is the Right Thing to Do’.
In a statement, the department said the seminar was preceded by an agricultural sector inspection blitz, the results of which indicated the need for an advocacy session with sector stakeholders.
Describing the seminar’s purpose, the department’s Advocate Fix Bede stated that the emphasis was on payment of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), registration of workers with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), registration of workers with the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), and referral of disputes to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).
Dr Naidoo, from the department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) division, told several agricultural sector employers that Limpopo province is dealing with some labour legislation issues. The seminar, he said, was one way for the department to show its willingness to help with these issues in an open and accessible manner.
“Because the department exists to regulate labour markets, it promotes job growth. The department never intends for employers to fail as a result of business closures, as this has a negative impact on communities.
“When it comes to labour legislation, there is a lot to take in but this seminar is just one among many engagements to help employers and employees in the sector understand these laws,” the department said.
CCMA Commissioner, Ephraim Dikotla — who presented on the NMW and BCEA-related cases in the agriculture sector with the CCMA in Limpopo — revealed that there are 162 cases which were reported for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, and 14 cases for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 May 2022.
Some of the cases were related to “failure to pay any amount owing in terms of the NWMA, dismissal for operational reasons related to NWMA and unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment with the NMWA”.
Dikotla said 138 cases reported for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 and 14 cases reported during 1 April 2021 to 31 May 2022 were not related to the NMWA.
“The agriculture sector [labour practice] compliance level in Limpopo for 2020 to 2021 return of earnings [ROE] season revealed that there are still 2 226 registered employers with the CF and 1 007 ROEs and invoices received; 73 invoices paid; an estimated 45% of ROE submission; an estimated 7% level of compliance, with an estimated 32 000 players in the sector (as per Google search),” the department said.
The department has further urged employers in the agricultural sector to comply with labour laws.
“It is important to remember and remind everyone that before these laws were enacted, there was massive public participation, which also allowed employer and employee organisations, trade unions, and civil society to provide input into these laws before they were passed in Parliament, and now all that is required is compliance with these laws,” the department said.
The department emphasised that it strives for a labour market that is conducive to investment, economic growth, employment creation and decent work by enacting its mission.
The department’s mission is to regulate the South African labour market for a sustainable economy through appropriate legislation and regulations, inspection, compliance monitoring and enforcement, protection of human rights, provision of employment services, promoting equity, social and income protection and social dialogue. – SAnews.gov.za