Treasury Allocates R60m for Labour Inspectors
Speaking at a briefing on 19 July 2011 about the current labour relations impasse, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced that the Department of Labour will be allocated an additional R60m by the National Treasury to employ more labour inspectors to ensure compliance with labour laws and health and safety regulations.
The Minister said a team appointed by NEDLAC was currently considering amendments to a number of Labour laws. NEDLAC is the negotiating forum for government, business and organised labour currently engaged on proposed amendments had decided to discuss a number of themes and to broaden the scope of the proposed amendments.
The Minister indicated that Government had agreed with the social partners, business and labour, to reopen discussion on key issues that required amendments before proceeding with legal drafting and it was hoped that the amendments which will also deal with labour broking would be tabled in Parliament by the first quarter of 2012.
She indicated that as a measure of progress, the NEDLAC team engaged in the discussions had agreed that a temporary worker should not work for more than three months. Dealing with labour broking will require amendments to labour legislation to provide protection for employees on fixed-term contracts, part-time and temporary employees. It was not desirable to rely on self-regulation or codes of conduct to deal with the kind of abuses that have occurred in the past. She also referred to employment contracts that would have to clearly identify who the employer and employee were.
The Minister also appealed to the trade union federations to keep their constituents informed of progress at NEDLAC level and to restrain striking workers from resorting to violence which undermined collective bargaining. The additional funds allocated will be used to train and employ labour inspectors. This was in addition to the R386.7m in the current financial year for inspection and enforcement services allocated in the department's budget appropriation bill.