Department of Labour’s Programme for 2002

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Labour

18 February 2002
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LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
19 February 2002
DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR’S PROGRAMME FOR 2002

Chairperson: Mr M.S Manie

Documents handed out:
Department of Labour: Work Programme for 2002 (See Appendix)

SUMMARY
After presenting the 15 Point Programme, the Director General was questioned about its implementation of policies such as employment equity, skills development and occupational health and safety and the role of volunteers within the Department.

MINUTES
The Director General, Advocate Rams Ramashia, briefed the Committee on the Department of Labour’s work programme for 2002 by reading out its 15 Point Programme. The programme is aimed at guiding the Department of Labour for the five year period 2000-2004. The 15 Point Programme deals with the following: Policies developed by the Department of Labour to achieve an appropriate balance between security and flexibility, employment creation, implementation of Presidential Job Summit resolutions, implementation of skills development strategy, employment equity, protection of vulnerable workers, occupational health and safety, an adequate social safety net, promoting stable labour relations, productivity, social partnerships, international relations, monitoring impact of policy, institutional restructuring and lastly, the legislative amendments.

Discussion
Mr Clelland (DP) asked for clarity on the Basic Conditions of Employment Act especially as it would relate to the taxi industry.

Mr Kettledas (Deputy Director General) said that the Department had interacted with both the taxi drivers and trade unions in order to address the problems in the taxi industry. The process commenced in 2000 was expected to be complete by the end of 2002. 

Mr Clelland asked if additional funding would be allocated to occupational health safety.

Mr Ramashia noted that allocating additional funding to occupational health safety would not solve its problems. He said that the Department was refocusing strategies to address the issue.

Mr Clelland asked for time frames on when task teams would have completed their investigations on making Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits available to domestic workers.

Mr Kettledas reacted that the process was ongoing and that progress reports would be received shortly.

Mr Clelland referred to the huge backlogs in processing claims on the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and asked what the reason for the delay was.

Mr Ramashia pointed out that the delays were as a result of claims being processed on a manual basis.

Mr S. Pillay (DP) asked for additional information and detail on the Department’s social plan. He followed up by asking how the social plan had made provision for unemployed persons.

The Department agreed to make additional information on their social plan available to the committee.
Mr Kettledas noted that the social plan aimed to provide support in various spheres. He continued that the social plan assisted the unemployed in dealing with retrenchments and the management thereof. The social plan had also assisted in creating jobs by way of making funds available to local government for the regeneration of local economies.

Mr S. Rasmeni (ANC) asked what progress had been made on stabilizing relations with small businesses.

Mr Ramashia stated that small business had asked the legal requirements pertaining to them to be relaxed as they were experiencing difficulties in complying with them. The Department had consequently complied with the request but small business had failed to recognize the efforts of the Department. Mr Ramashia made the point that it was therefore up to the Department to spur on their advocacy programme.

Mr Rasmeni asked whether time frames had been set for the integration of inspectorates.

Dr Nkosana stated that a policy paper was being drafted and that it was expected to be completed by the end of April 2002. He added that inspectors would have broader powers to inspect all functional areas and were being provided with appropriate training.
   
Mr Z. Madasa (ACDP) emphasized the need for the Department to look into shortfalls experienced by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in processing complaints.

Mr Ramashia noted that the Department was looking into the issue.

Mr Madasa asked what the efforts of the Department were in encouraging employment equity in the public sector.

Mr Ramashia was concerned over procedural non-compliance by certain government departments in implementing employment equity.
 
Mr Madasa was concerned about the Department’s expenditure on leasing premises from the private sector when the Department of public works should provide for premises.

Mr Ramashia noted that private buildings were only leased if there were shortages in obtaining premises from the Department of public works.

Mr R. Moropa (ANC) asked if the small business sector was successful in South Africa and whether a legislative framework was needed to make it more progressive.

Mr Ramashia said that a study was being undertaken to look at how appropriate current legislation was for the small business sector.

Mr S. Mshudulu (ANC) was concerned about the lack of involvement of trade unions on the issue of employment equity. He felt that employers were much better capacitated than unions and were therefore in a much better position on matters of employment equity.

Mr Ramashia agreed that trade unions had to become more involved. He felt that trade unions either were not interested in becoming capacitated or that they lacked the required capacity.

Mr G. Oliphant (ANC) asked for a specific date for the signing of the Occupational Health Safety Accord that was to take place some time in April.

Mr Ramashia noted that the accord had been discussed at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). He added that the signing of the accord needed to be publicized more extensively.

Mr Oliphant asked for confirmation that the Department did not have any legislation that was to be referred to the Committee for 2002.

The Department confirmed that there was no legislation that would be referred for consideration to the Committee for 2002.

Mr S. Rasmeni (ANC) pointed out that many COIDA and UIF payouts were done in the form of cheques but that most of the recipients did not have bank accounts within which to deposit them. The result was that these persons were often charged up to one third of the cheque’s value to have them cashed by an individual who in fact had a bank account. He asked what the Department had done to address the problem.

Mr Kettledas reacted that the Department had been engaged in trying to address the problem. He added that the problem had to be brought to the attention of labour center heads.

Mr M. Mzondeki (ANC) asked what was the Department doing to address the problem of the lack of skills development that was taking place at local government level. He also asked for further information on the Department’s social plan.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix:
DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Work programme for 2002

15 point programme
Guides our work in this five year period
15 points are:
· Policies developed by Department seek to achieve an appropriate balance between security and flexibility
· Employment creation
· Implementation of Presidential Job Summit resolutions
· Implementation of skills development strategy
· Employment equity
· Protection of vulnerable workers
· Occupational health and safety
· An adequate social safety net
· Promoting stable labour relations
· Productivity
· Social partnerships
· International relations
· Monitoring impact of policy
· Institutional restructuring
· Legislative amendments

1. Strategic Objectives

1. Monitor and review labour market policies on an ongoing basis
· LRA & BCEA review
· Review collective bargaining trends
· Analyse industrial action trends

2. Employment and Skills development
· Develop and implement NSDS
· Develop and implement HRD Strategy

3. Employment equity
· Prevent unfair discrimination.
· Promote affirmative action.

4. Protection of vulnerable workers
· Setting minimum wages and conditions for vulnerable workers.
· Sectoral determinations for learnerships.
· Eradication of child labour.

5. SocialSafetyNet
· UIF policy overhaul.
· Improve COIDA claim processing.
· Implementation of Social Plan.

6. Promote Occupational Health and Safety
· Prevention.
· Collaboration with social partners.
· Inspection and enforcement.
· Harmonisation of OHS competencies

7. Stable Labour Relations
· Effective registration of Labour organisations.
· Support establishment of bargaining councils.
· Support for small businesses.
· Promote dispute prevention and resolution through the CCMA

2. Skills development: focus areas
Focus areas:
· Complete restructuring of Dol Provincial offices to deliver new services;
· Enhance management capacity throughout the system through improved systems, enhanced
capacity development initiatives and strengthened performance management.
· Commence restructuring of INDLELA to extend services from trade testing to training and linkages with SMME support services;
· Strengthened integration of Social Plan implementation.

3. Employment equity
Research on quality of employment equity compliance to feed into:
· Development of norms and benchmarks
· Criteria for the conducting of DG reviews (reviewing employer performance)
· Establishment of awards system
Ongoing advocacy with peak in August before October reporting date.
Improved compliance in public sector including local government and parastatals
Launch of:
Code of Good Practice on Disability in the workplace
· Technical Assistance Guidelines to accommodate HTV/AIDS Code of Good Practice.

Vulnerable workers: roll out
Implementation of amendments to BCEA Sectorial determinations finalised:
· Domestic and farm
· Minibus taxi
· Retail and hospitality
Work in progress on others including forestry, maritime, children in performing arts.
White Paper on child labour including programme of action

Vulnerable workers: enforcement
Improved support to inspectors especially in terms of infrastructure and training
Ongoing enforcement with intensification in respect of child labour
Blitz campaigns in security, construction, agriculture and clothing in non-bargaining council areas in respect of all labour laws.

5. Occupational health and safety
Policy process to integrate health, safety and compensation competencies across government:
Stakeholder awareness campaign
· Joint ventures with social partners
· Creation of nation~ and provincial stakeholder forums
· Support for creation of workplace health and safety committees.
· Signing of 0115 Accord in April.
Improved enforcement
· Improved capacity of inspectors.
· More focused OHS training.
· Improved case management.
· Development of occupational diseases policy.

6. Improved social safety net
Implementation of Unemployment Insurance legislation:
· Promulgation 1 April 2002
· Regulations being developed
· Staff trained
· Public awareness campaign
· Implementation of IT systems including employer/employee database.
· Transitional steps
Follow up on issues arising from passage of Ul legislation:
· Task team on extension to domestic workers and seasonal workers
· Report on maternity benefits
· Report on inclusion of public servants.

Improved social safety net: Compensation Fund
Improved claims processing
· Decentralisation
· Automation
Improved revenue collection and fraud detection.

7. Promoting stable labour relations
Efficient registration of labour organisations
Campaign to deregister non bona-fide unions once LRA amendments are promulgated.
Oversee CCMA
Monitoring and support transformation of bargaining councils and facilitate establishment of new councils
Monitoring of strikes and labour market events.

8. Productivity
Participation in sectoral summits in respect of auto and ICT sectors.
Participation on National Productivity Institute board and Social Plan and Productivity Advisory Council
Participation in discussions at NEDLAC on a Productivity Accord.
Good skills practices diffused through SETAs and provinces.

9. Social partnerships
Ongoing support to and strengthening of CCMA, NSA, FCC, CEE etc
Optimal utilization of Strengthening Civil Society Fund
Financial security for Ditsela (trade union institute)
Participation in NEDLAC including Section 77 Committee which deals with socio-economic protest actions.

International relations
Ratification of ILO conventions
· 144 on Tripartite Consultation
· 155 on Occupational Health and Safety

Our role in Africa
· Participation in restructuring of OAU and SAOC
· Participation in NEPAO and identify contributions Department of Labour could make

Technical co-operation
· Co-ordination of projects
· Co-ordination and monitoring bilateral and multilateral co-operation agreements.

11. Monitoring the impact of government policy
Providing analytical and informational tools to assist Department establish impact.
Research projects including on costs of compliance of labour legislation for SMMEs.
Review of labour relations trends including strike statistics.
Annual workshop with producers and users of labour market data.

12. Institution building
Restructuring of head office to be more aligned to needs to Department including new service delivery programme
Improved human resource development including:
· New career development and retention strategy
· Performance management system
·Training contract with external service provider
· Ongoing implementation of equity and skills plans.
Roll out of client service orientation strategy
Introduction of Masisizane Campaign (HIV/AIDS mutual help campaign).
Introduction of a public private partnership for provision of information technology
Introduction of innovations to improve budget management and PFMA compliance

13. Legislative amendments
Finalisation of LRA and BCEA amendments.
Promulgation of amendments:
· Preparations: development of regulations, guidelines, Codes
· Launch
· Communication campaign

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