Decent Work Country Programme: briefing by NEDLAC and Department of Labour

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Labour

14 November 2011
Chairperson: Mr M Nchabeleng (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

NEDLAC said decent work was central to efforts aimed at addressing poverty and was a means for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The concept included obtaining jobs with fair salaries, safety in the workplace, the right to organise, social protection for workers and their families, and equality between men and women. The concept was based on the understanding that decent work was not only a source of income, but also more importantly, a source of dignity, family stability, peace in the community and economic growth.

The formulation of the SA Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) involved a series of consultative meetings between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the NEDLAC constituents. Key decent work deficits were identified and country priorities defined. The priorities gave effect to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed to all citizens under the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in the Bill of Rights. South Africa’s first DWCP was launched on 29 September 2010.

The Decent Work Country Programme had four priorities:

? Priority 1, Strengthening fundamental principles and rights at work,
▪ Priority 2, Employment Promotion,
Priority 3, strengthening and broadening social protection and
Priority 4, Strengthening tri-partism plus and social dialogue.

Each priority had several key outcomes and
NEDLAC gave an implementation update on the nine outcomes. For example, it reported for Outcome One - To ensure that up-to-date international labour standards are ratified, complied with and reported on - that the ILO had provided technical and capacity support to Cosatu to enable its participation in deliberations held on the new ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the last International Labour Conference (June 2011) as well as a national summit organized by Cosatu in August 2011 in collaboration with Organised Labour, and Government under the theme ‘From Global State to National: Lobbying to Advance the Decent Work Agenda for Domestic Workers’. The summit resulted in a roadmap on how to engage the Minister of Labour and other stakeholders for ratification of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. The ILO had provided technical inputs and support to the Fedusa Equity Forum Women’s Day celebrations on 10 August 2011 and awareness was raised on the provisions of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

The Department of Labour reported on progress it had made with
legislation to promote the Decent Work Agenda. It had initiated NEDLAC discussions on decent work in 2009, on the basis of a discussion document: “Decent work and non-standard employees: Options for legislative reform in South Africa. Areas of possible amendment had been identified through NEDLAC discussions and drafting commenced in early 2010. Four draft Labour Bills had been approved by Cabinet in December 2010 and they had been published in the Government Gazette on 17 December 2010 for public comment. They were titled the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the Employment Equity Amendment Bill and the Employment Services Bill.

Policy themes that had been identified for discussion by the Labour Law Amendment Task Team were:
▪ Atypical employment relationships: the discussion focused on the amendments to Section 198 of the LRA and covered temporary Employment Services, fixed term contracts, organizational rights, probation, public employment schemes and part-time employees.
▪ Dispute resolution: amendments were proposed to approximately 36 sections and subsections of the LRA, dealing with operations of the CCMA and dispute resolution. Essential services and strike violence would be dealt with under the theme of collective bargaining.
▪ Access to employment:
discussions covered the role and function of public employment services, private employment services, labour market information and reporting, creating decent work, public private partnerships, promotion of youth employment, probation, cost of doing business/compliance costs.
▪ Equity: discussions covered equal pay for work of equal value, reporting, enforcement and compliance issues, compliance costs, discrimination disputes.
▪ Compliance and enforcement, proposed amendments covered the strengthening of the powers of the inspectorate, streamlining enforcement and compliance, administrative and criminal sanctions and addressing child labour.
▪ Collective bargaining, the DoL proposed 13 areas of amendments to the LRA and BCEA that covered the protection of vulnerable workers, improved the role and function of bargaining councils and statutory councils, dealt with violence in strikes and improved the functioning of essential services.

Legal Drafting had commenced on collective bargaining and compliance and enforcement. All negotiations on the LRA and the BCEA should be concluded by the end of November 2011. It was envisaged that the drafting of all amendments to the LRA and BCEA be concluded by middle December 2011. Negotiations continued on other themes and bills.

Members asked what informed government to start on the idea of “decent” work as poverty levels were not improving. Members asked how NEDLAC was realistically going to achieve the 45 Outcomes towards achieving decent work by 2014, as it currently focussed on only the first four outcomes. Members asked whether there were discussions with educational institutions to realise skills development. Members wanted to know to what degree BUSA could bind its affiliates to its own commitment to job-rich growth. Members asked how DoL protected workers’ rights on farms and what was done to ensure that migrant labourers had decent work. Members asked what incentives existed for employers to employ inexperienced workers. Members asked if the social partners at NEDLAC had raised the two new issues (violence during strikes and the functioning of the essential services committee) that were added to the Draft Bills after presentation to Cabinet.

Meeting report

Decent Work Country Programme: briefing by NEDLAC and ILO
Mr Alistair Smith, Executive Director: National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), delivered the presentation.

Conceptual Overview
NEDLAC said decent work was central to efforts aimed at addressing poverty and was a means for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The concept included obtaining jobs with fair salaries, safety in the workplace, the right to organise, social protection for workers and their families, and equality between men and women. The concept was based on the understanding that decent work was not only a source of income, but also more importantly, a source of dignity, family stability, peace in the community and economic growth.

The formulation of the SA Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) involved a series of consultative meetings between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the NEDLAC constituents. Key decent work deficits were identified and country priorities defined. The priorities gave effect to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed to all citizens under the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in the Bill of Rights. South Africa’s first DWCP was launched on 29 September 2010.

The Decent Work Country Programme had four priorities:
▪ Priority 1, Strengthening fundamental principles and rights at work,
▪ Priority 2,
Employment Promotion,
Priority 3, strengthening and broadening social protection and
Priority 4, Strengthening tri-partism plus and social dialogue.

Each priority had several key outcomes and
NEDLAC gave an implementation update on the outputs for each of the four priorities.

Update on the Implementation of the
SA Decent Work Country Programme
● Priority 1 Strengthening fundamental principles and rights at work key outcomes:
Up-to-date international labour standards are ratified, complied with and reported on
The ILO had provided technical and capacity support to Cosatu to enable its participation in deliberations held on the new ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the last International Labour Conference (June 2011) as well as a national summit organized by Cosatu in August 2011 in collaboration with Organised Labour, and Government under the theme ‘From Global State to National: Lobbying to Advance the Decent Work Agenda for Domestic Workers’. The summit resulted in a roadmap on how to engage the Minister of Labour and other stakeholders for ratification of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. The ILO had provided technical inputs and support to the Fedusa Equity Forum Women’s Day celebrations on 10 August 2011 and awareness was raised on the provisions of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

▪ Labour administrations apply up-to-date labour conventions and legislation & provide effective services:
Thirty labour inspectors had been trained as master trainers, who had in turn trained 224 labour inspectors countrywide. A national Labour Inspection Policy Conference was held in September 2010 to discuss key policy issues facing labour inspection in South Africa. The conference recommended that Government ratify Labour Inspection Convention 81. It had been tabled at NEDLAC and was currently under discussion.

A study was conducted in 2010 to assess key challenges, successes and gaps faced in the implementation of ILO Equality conventions 100 and 111. The findings of the review were shared with the constituents in workshops where recommendations were made for the enhanced monitoring of compliance with provisions of the two conventions. Work is currently underway to finalize the report that will be presented in a booklet for distribution to the ILO constituents. A study was conducted to identify gaps in the responsiveness of StatsSA labour market data to gender. The study report made recommendations to StatsSA on how to improve the gender responsiveness of the Quarterly Labour Force Study (QLFS).

● Priority 2, Employment Promotion:
▪ More people, especially youth and persons with disabilities, have access to productive, decent employment

ILO prepared a Global Jobs Pact Country Scan for South Africa as an input to national policy dialogue. The Country Scan examined the country situation and highlighted the South Africa’s response to the crisis as articulated in the National Response Framework.

The ILO supported an initiative by Business Unity South Africa in 2010/11 to strengthen employers’ capacity to take a policy position on inclusive job-rich growth. BUSA had since developed a discussion document outlining its perspectives on an inclusive job-rich growth path for South Africa by 2025.
 
In May 2011, the Nedlac Technical Committee for the DWCP reviewed and endorsed the preparatory process for identifying decent work indicators and the development of a Decent Work profile for South Africa.

StatsSA was undertaking an exercise of compiling and tabulating available decent work statistical indicators (data) based on the ILO global list of decent work indicators (and identifying gaps).


Technical support to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) was facilitated through two projects: ILO Technical Assistance to the National Department of Public Works and ILO Technical Assistance to the Limpopo Provincial Government (see document for details).

The ILO facilitated a stakeholders’ workshop to review challenges facing the Zibambele Household Contractor maintenance programme in KZN that currently employed an estimated 40,000 beneficiaries.

In June 2011, a training workshop was held for ILO EPWP technical experts on the application of international labour standards, occupational safety and health, and social security in Employment Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP). The training was geared towards enhancing the capacity of ILO EPWP technical experts to extend relevant advisory support to government and other partners on the promotion of decent work in EIIP.

The ILO met on 26 May 2011 with government officials of the Ethekwini municipality as well as representatives of the Ethekwini Municipality Informal Economy Forum to discuss support by the ILO towards strengthening the municipality’s informal economy policy environment. The Ethekwini municipality in partnership with representatives of the local informal traders association planned to undertake learning missions to countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Mauritius to draw lessons on how to improve the local informal economy environment.

▪ Sustainable and competitive enterprises (including cooperatives) create productive and decent jobs
T
he ILO SETYSA project (Social Entrepreneurship Targeting Youth in South Africa) lent support towards promoting the concept of social entrepreneurship. The project made significant progress towards promoting a better understanding of the concept of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, particularly amongst policy makers. Resource persons based in Business Development Service (BDS) organizations were trained in a range of tools and materials. At the micro-level, project interventions were focused on two pilot locations (WC and the Eastern Cape) where a range of ultimate beneficiaries (persons in the target pilot communities) were mobilized through social business competitions to start their own social business initiatives.

The SCORE (Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises) project focused on clusters of small-scale wildlife tourism lodges and surrounding rural based SMMEs for improved productivity, sustainability and competitiveness.

Specific project sites include Wild life reserves in the North West province (Madikwe Game reserve) and the Eastern Cape Province (Amakhala Game reserve).

The project target managers and staff in wildlife lodges as well as government, the private sector and communities surrounding the Madikwe and the Amakhala Game Reserves.

The Free State-based Employment Creation through Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME) Development Project lend support towards the growth of rural based small and medium scale businesses to create decent employment opportunities for historically disadvantaged population groups in the Free State province.

A research study to assess the enabling environment for growth oriented women entrepreneurs (GOWE) was carried out under the auspices of the DTI’s Gender and Women Empowerment Unit to help inform the update, finalization and implementation of the existing draft Strategic Framework on Gender and Women’s Economic Empowerment of the DTI.

A national committee for the review of the Strategic Framework chaired by the DTI to review of the DTI’s Strategic Framework on Gender and Women’s Economic Empowerment was already working.

To date, 28 trainers had been trained in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED) tool; 21 trainers have been trained in the Improve Your Exhibition Skills (IYES) tool; 12 trainers had been trained in the Expand Your Business tool of whom 6 were certified trainers in EYB, and 2 were master trainers; 12 trainers had been trained in the Action My Business Guide tool and 3 were master trainers.


● Priority Three: Strengthening and broadening social protection key outcomes:
▪ More people have access to better managed and more gender equitable social security and health benefits
The ILO prepared a Technical Note on Social Security Reform with a particular focus on the role and linkages of social insurance and social assistance to the labour market. The Technical Note was presented at a workshop organized by the UIF Social Security Board on 23 March 2011.

A certificate programme on Managing Social Security and Pensions was developed with Wits University. A first training course was held for government officials and social partners (Organized labour, Business).

The ILO facilitated an assessment of current challenges both legal & administrative that African migrant workers face in accessing social security benefits.The findings of the assessment were disseminated at a National Policy Dialogue Forum on Cross Border Migration and the Portability of Social Security Benefits for Migrant Workers in March 2011. One of the recommendations made at the Policy Dialogue Forum was the need to streamline reforms of social security systems in the region according to the SADC framework.

In May 2011, a sub-regional conference for trade union organizations was held on Advancing Social Security Standards and the Social Protection Floor to Strengthen Social Security Systems and to Extend Coverage to All. Representatives from COSATU and National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU) participated.

▪ The World of Work responded effectively to the HIV&AIDS epidemic

The ILO provided technical and financial support towards the revision of the South Africa Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment. The draft revised Code has been submitted by the Minister of Labour to NEDLAC for further discussion by the social partners. First NEDLAC meeting to discuss the draft revised Code was scheduled for 18 November 2011. The ILO provided support in co-facilitating national and provincial consultations on the revised draft code. These consultations were held during the month of September and October 2011.

● Priority
Four Strengthening tri-partism plus and social dialogue key outcomes:
▪ Strengthened labour market institutions and capacitated social partners (tripartite –plus) contribute to effective social dialogue and sound industrial relations
In August 2010, a sub-regional workshop was facilitated by the ILO for Employers’ Organizations on lobbying and advocacy; on membership services, and evidence based advocacy for labour market issues. BUSA was represented at the workshop by its affiliate organizations, notably Agri-SA and the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC). In April 2011, a sub-regional workshop was held for employers’ organisations under the theme ‘Effective business agenda and better communication’. The ILO supported a BUSA assessment study on the impact of Government’s rescue package on SMEs.

BUSA was among eight employer organizations selected globally by the ILO in a study to examine the role of employers’ organizations on sustaining business and employment in the financial and economic crisis. The study had been finalised.

The ILO facilitated a number of training workshops for Organised Labour (Cosatu, Fedusa, Nactu) to orientate members of the ILO Global Jobs Pact.

Two capacity building workshops were held in 2010 for Organized Labour on the provisions of the National Framework Agreement on the Global Economic Crisis. The workshops aimed to strengthen the capacity of trade unions to contribute towards the implementation

In partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the ILO provided support to a seminar for Organized Labour with the theme “placing decent work at the centre of trade policies”.

The ILO facilitated a training workshop for affiliates of Nactu to enhance their members’ understanding of proposals contained in the New Growth Path (NGP) Strategy. Subsequently, Nactu formulated a formal response to and commentary on the NGP that was submitted to the Minister of Economic Development.

The ILO conducted a study to examine the impact of industrial relations and collective bargaining in South Africa in mitigating the impact of the global economic crisis. Preliminary findings of the study were presented by the ILO at a Joint Consultative Forum of Bargaining Councils held in April 2011.

The ILO was currently providing support to the Department of Labour in a study focusing on the enforcement of minimum wage laws in South Africa.

The ILO provided technical and coordination support to a Nactu collective bargaining conference held in March 2011. The objective of the conference was to enhance the capacity of Nactu affiliates to use collective bargaining in driving the South Africa Decent Work Agenda.

Department of Labour (DoL) on
progress on the Decent Work Country Programme
Mr Les Kettledas, DoL Deputy Director-General: Labour Policy and Labour Market Programmes, provided a report on progress made on legislation to promote the Decent Work agenda.
 
The Labour Relations Act (LRA) provided a framework within which employers and their trade unions, employers and employers’ organisations could collectively bargain to determine wages, terms and conditions of employment and other matters of mutual interest as well as formulate industrial policy. It promoted orderly collective bargaining, also at sectoral level, employee participation in decision-making as well as effective labour dispute resolution (CCMA).

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) gave effect to and regulated the right to fair labour practices conferred by section 23(1) of the Constitution by establishing and enforcing basic conditions of employment and by regulating the variation of basic conditions of employment. It also gave effect to obligations incurred by South Africa as a member state of the ILO.

The Employment Equity Act (EEA) was developed to achieve equality in the workplace by promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination, and implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, in order to ensure their equitable representation in all categories of the workforce.

The DoL initiated the NEDLAC discussions on decent work in 2009, on the basis of a discussion document: “Decent work and non-standard employees: Options for legislative reform in South Africa. Areas of possible amendment had been identified through NEDLAC discussions and drafting commenced in early 2010. Draft Labour Bills had been approved by Cabinet in December 2010 and they had been published in the Government Gazette on 17 December 2010 for public comment. They were the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the Employment Equity Amendment Bill and the Employment Services Bill.

Policy Themes identified for discussion by the Labour Law Amendment Task Team were: atypical employment relationships, dispute resolution, compliance and enforcement, access to employment, equity and collective bargaining.

1  On the theme of atypical employment relationships, the discussions focused on the amendments to Section 198 of the LRA and covered temporary Employment Services, fixed term contracts, organizational rights, probation, public employment schemes and part-time employees.

2  On the theme of dispute resolution, amendments were proposed to approximately 36 sections and subsections of the LRA, dealing with operations of the CCMA and dispute resolution. Essential services and strike violence would be dealt with under the theme of collective bargaining.

3  On the theme of compliance and enforcement, proposed amendments covered the strengthening of the powers of the inspectorate, streamlining enforcement and compliance, administrative and criminal sanctions and addressing child labour.

4  On the theme of access to employment
, discussions covered the role and function of public employment services, private employment services, labour market information and reporting, creating decent work, public private partnerships, promotion of youth employment, probation, cost of doing business/compliance costs.

5  On the theme of equity, discussions covered equal pay for work of equal value, reporting, enforcement and compliance issues, compliance costs, discrimination disputes.

6  On the theme of collective bargaining, the DoL proposed 13 areas of amendments to the LRA and BCEA that covered the protection of vulnerable workers, improved the role and function of bargaining councils and statutory councils, dealt with violence in strikes and improved the functioning of essential services.

Legal Drafting had commenced on collective bargaining and compliance and enforcement. All negotiations on the LRA and the BCEA should be concluded by the end of November 2011. It was envisaged that the drafting of all amendments to the LRA and BCEA be concluded by middle December 2011. Negotiations continued on other themes and bills.

Discussion
Mr F Maserumule (ANC) said that the issue of decent work was to a certain extent accepted and agreed upon. It was common knowledge that businesses made a profit because they exploited workers to an extent. For the past 17 years, government had been trying to improve working conditions for workers. What informed government to start toying around with the idea of decent work? Poverty levels were not improving. He did not understand.

Mr Smith replied that the question raised by Mr Maserumule had to be asked more often. It should not be a public relations exercise. It was about setting standards, and a set of aspirations to aspire to. All involved had to continually review the process. Another point that was essential was about what the framework did. It guided the work of the ILO within South Africa. He asked Mr Van Vuuren to respond.

Mr Vic van Vuuren, Director, ILO SA, said that decent work in the ILO debate was not at the expense of profit. It strived to ensure that workers were not exploited, that the working environment was safe, that the wage was reasonable, and that the hours of work were reasonable. Anything other than this in any country was unacceptable. The ILO was formed after the First World War when people in Western Europe worked in large factories.

Mr D Kganare (COPE) referred to the issue of the 45 outcomes by 2014, the social partners agreed upon. Was there a plan to progressively achieve these by 2014? Could a summary of the plan be provided?

Mr Kganare said that Mr Smith mentioned 45 outcomes to be achieved by 2014. It was the end of 2011 and NEDLAC was focussing on only four priorities, leaving 41 to achieve between 2012 and 2014. This meant that 15 per annum had to be achieved. Was it feasible? If NEDLAC was struggling with four, how was it going to achieve 41 over three years?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the outcomes were as agreed. There were 45 outcomes. NEDLAC set a few priorities, in order to concentrate on them first, to make sure there was progress. If it tackled too many of the outcomes, the energy would be too diffuse and nothing would be achieved.

Mr Kganare said Priority 2 was employment promotion. How was agriculture going to be affected by the need for women and youth employment? Skills development improved the employability of workers. Were there discussions with institutions to achieve this?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the ILO was aware that the 700 000 jobs lost recently were mostly unskilled jobs. Unskilled workers mostly remained unemployed, while skilled workers found work again or managed to generate an income without being in full time employment. The ILO recognised the importance of skills development and was interacting with the Minister of Higher Education.

Mr Kganare asked for an update on gender audit facilitators and the process around it.

Mr Van Vuuren replied that he could make the findings of the gender audits available.

Mr Kganare referred to the presentation where it said that Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) supported a job-rich growth path. He wanted to know to what degree BUSA could bind its affiliates to its own commitment to job-rich growth. There was talk about adopting labour intensive methods. The presentation talked about government, but most workers worked for private people. How could labour intensive methods be ensured with private employers, while the dominant trend was towards mechanisation and automation?

Mr Kganare explained that he commented and raised questions in order to be able to do oversight on the projects mentioned. During constituency time, he wanted to go there. BUSA was the representative of employers, but decent work happened on the shop floor. He wanted to ask a company like Woolworths, how they provided decent work when they employed some casual workers for only five hours per week. BUSA had to be able to say: At the following places of work, they are compliant. The partners had to be honest.

Mr Van Vuuren replied that BUSA was part of the initiatives. This was BUSA’s response to the jobs debate. The ILO worked with the tripartite partners together and individually. More people had to get into the labour market. The concept of job targeting fitted in with the government’s New Growth Path. There was a worldwide youth unemployment debate. South Africa was also being affected.

Mr Kganare referred to Priority 3 on Promotion of Employment and pointed to Output 3.3 where learners from emerging contractors were getting technical support. He asked if what they had achieved, would be recognized by employers.

Mr Van Vuuren replied that there was a team of engineers working with local government and local communities, making curb paving and building roads. Some of them would do the maintenance of the roads after the completion of the project. All labour standards were complied with.

Mr Kganare referred to the Technical Guidelines developed for Labour Intensive Construction for Water Sanitation and Building Works referred to in Output 3.3 and asked where would implementation take place. Would the industry cooperate?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that he would provide the Water Sanitation and Building Works report.

Mr Kganare asked who the beneficiaries were of the Zibambele Household Contractors and what it meant. What amount of money was involved, how sustainable was it and who was financing it?

Mr Kganare referred to Output 4.3, to the pilot projects mentioned in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. He wanted to know who the beneficiaries were and what it meant. He wanted to know the nature of the pilot projects and the numbers of people affected by them.

Mr Kganare asked whether the Madikwe game reserve was regarded as an SMME.

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the local communities provided services in and for the game reserves. It was small business operations. It was a successful programme. The project was also going to be implemented on the African Ivory Route in Limpopo Province.

Mr Kganare wanted the details of the Free State SMME project. When was it started, who was involved, who was funding it and how many people were affected?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the Western and Eastern Cape projects were two pilot projects. The concept was working with local government. The big project was in Limpopo province.

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the Free State project was an Enterprise Development Project. Seven million Euros was being invested over three years, with the promise of another seven million Euros extending the project to six years. The project was working with municipal and local service providers. It was only two months old.

Mr Kganare wanted details about the Free State project as well as copies of the documents on the pilot projects in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. It was not just a PR exercise. These were real projects.

The Chairperson also asked for reports on the Free State project as well as the project in KZN. The Committee would visit these projects on oversight visits. He asked when the Committee would get the reports.

Mr Kettledas replied that the Committee would receive the reports within ten days.

Mr A Williams (ANC) said that in the agricultural and fishing sectors, workers were still victimised for organising. What could be done to ensure that Agri-SA complied with current labour legislation?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the debate continued with the problematic sectors regarding workers’ rights.

Mr Williams quoted the DoL as saying: “Workers Rights were Human Rights”. Theme One was abusive practices. Many work places had never seen inspectors. How did DoL protect workers’ rights on farms?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that the fishing sector was not part of organised business. The labour inspectorate needed to be strengthened. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture had asked for research on the fishing sector.

Mr Williams asked what bound the fishing sector to comply to decisions made at NEDLAC if it was not represented there.

Mr Van Vuuren replied that they were represented at NEDLAC and bound by its decisions, but they were fragmented. It flew below the radar. There were other sectors similar to the fishing sector.

The Chairperson commented on the fishing sector that bodies of fishermen had been found floating in the sea. Nobody claimed them and employers denied having employed them.

Mr
Thembinkosi Mkalipi, DOL Chief Director for Labour Market Policy, said that he was not sure whether it was correct to look at the fishing sector as one unit. In the Eastern Cape, there was a bargaining council for the squid or calamari sector. Labour and business were organised. In the Western Cape, deep sea fishing and processing were organised. The problem was with fishing rights and small operations. It was a grey area. The DoL was grappling with how to deal with vulnerable workers in that area.

Mr Van Vuuren said that the debate continued regarding labour inspections. He suggested that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture had to be involved in the debate. Some work had been done on labourer evictions from farms.

Mr Mkalipi replied that blitz inspections on farms, places of work in the fishing industry and of domestic workers, was a strategy.

Ms L Makhubele-Mashele (ANC) said that migrant labourers were exploited. What was done to ensure that migrant labourers had decent work?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that immigrant labour was a difficult issue to deal with, because of the numbers of people involved. Immigrants worked for rates below the determined rates. Those with documents could access services from the DoL through employment centres.

Ms Makhubele-Mashele asked who owned Zibambele Household Contractors, what was the funding model, and what entailed being a beneficiary?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that he would provide the information on Zibambele Household Contractors.

Mr I Ollis (SA) said that in some industries the starting salaries were high, which served as a disincentive to employ inexperienced workers. What incentives existed for employers to employ inexperienced workers?

Mr Van Vuuren replied that internships and traineeships were not utilised adequately at the moment. This was available for companies and small businesses.

Mr Mkalipi added that the DTI dealt with incentives for small businesses to employ inexperienced workers. The Bill would clarify the detail.

Mr Ollis said that there were two items on the list that were not in the draft labour laws which the Minister had tabled in December 2010. There were new categories, namely, violence in strikes and the functioning of the service committee. Who submitted this to the NEDLAC process and when?

Mr E Nyekemba (ANC) asked whether the social partners at NEDLAC had raised the new issues that were added to the draft Bills. Did it lead to items reflected that were not part of the Bills presented to Cabinet?

Mr Mkalipi replied that Mr Nyekemba had given the correct answer. The new categories were added by the public during the public consultation process, and the social partners at NEDLAC. All at NEDLAC agreed that the categories had to be included.

Mr Ollis said that the fact that the first two laws would be ready by December 2011 was great news. It would then go back to Cabinet. What would be the process after that and at what stage would there be a public participation process on the final draft?

Mr Mkalipi replied that the Bill had been published and the public had commented. There would not be another session of public participation again at this level. Parliament could decide how it wanted to deal with them. The DoL would not want to change them. Parliament could change them.

Mr Ollis said that Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in compliance and enforcement was, as far as he knew, a new idea. It was traditionally done by the Labour Inspectorate. In the draft laws, there was no intention to have a private aspect in enforcement.

Mr Mkalipi replied that Public Private Partnerships were not new. Bargaining Councils consisted of business and labour. It already existed. A bargaining council was a private organisation doing its own enforcement in the sector. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) area dealt with PPP. Approved parties were appointed to inspect and enforce.

Mr Ollis asked Mr Kettledas to clarify which themes would the DoL not to get to in 2011. Mr Kettledas had mentioned Themes 5 and 6. Would Themes 1, 2, 3 and 4 be completed in 2011 still?

Mr Mkalipi replied that Employment Services and Employment Equity Bills would not be finished. The last Cabinet meeting would be in November. It might not be complete by the last Cabinet meeting.

Mr Nyekembe heard talk about an Extended Public Works Programme. Community Work Programmes often did work that used to be done by local government employees. What was the role of the DoL in that situation where they did work that fell outside of the sectoral determination?

Mr Mkalipi replied that where there was sectoral determination, it applied. Where sectoral determination did not apply, the BCEA applied.

Mr Maserumule asked why the information contained in the two presentations could not have been given as a written document for the Committee to read, instead of presenting it if NEDLAC and the DoL were not able to answer the questions.

The Chairperson replied that the NEDLAC and the DoL were present as the implementing agents of the policies proposed. He found it useful to understand the process and the presenters had the right to say that they could not answer some of the questions. Also Members had different levels of understanding and there were Members who were new to the Committee.

He mentioned that two weeks previously he was told by a journalist that “the Portfolio Committee was doing less to improve the lives of vulnerable workers and that only Mr Ollis cared”. Committee members needed to spread the word about the positive things that the Committee was doing to improve the lives of vulnerable workers. These issues raised here such as farm workers and labour inspections were not new. They had been raised by the Committee many years ago and the DoL was the champion of these issues at the ILO. South Africa was the country giving direction to the ILO on matters such as the decent work programme and domestic workers. The Committee had to spread the word about what it was doing.
   
The meeting was adjourned





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