PC Labour: Oversight Reports

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Employment and Labour

19 November 2014
Chairperson: Ms LE Yengeni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered and adopted with amendments a Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour on an unannounced visit to the Nyanga Satellite Office and Bellville Labour Centre. The Committee discussed the hygienic concerns of the Nyanga Centre and the Department of Labour’s daily quota on how many people it assisted daily.

The Committee also discussed a Draft Report regarding a Visit to the Fishing Industry and the role of Department Inspectorates. A Draft Report regarding its oversight visit to the Farms in the Eastern Cape was also discussed and safety concerns raised were noted. The Committee then debated what the status should be on the Minutes from a series of workshops on the National Minimum Wage 20 August-19 September 2014 and concluded that it should not be a Report of the Committee as it was not the work of the Committee, it was an incomplete summary of submissions made by some stakeholders on the issue of a national minimum wage.

The Portfolio Committee adopted six sets of minutes for the period September and October 2014.

Meeting report

Ms Loliwe reminded Members that they had agreed to read the reports and come back with any changes that needed to be made.

Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour on an Unannounced Visit to the Nyanga Satellite Office and Bellville Labour Centre.
Mr M Bagraim (DA) brought the Committee’s attention to the oversight of the Nyanga Labour Centre. When they went there it was locked up, which meant that many people went through to the Bellville centre, which had to service both communities. This was at travel cost of the people an added extra pressure to the Bellville Centre. The report had not made much of that and Members all agreed that more emphasis on that must be added to the Minutes.

Mr D America (DA) brought the Committee’s attention to the fact that the report said 200 clients per day were serviced but the Committee had not confirmed that, so that could not be categorically stated in the report.

The Chairperson agreed and suggested adding: “we were told”, to the report to solve this problem.

One of the members raised the concern about the Public toilets at the Nyanga Centre that had been broken for a while. Mr Bagraim added that the disabled toilet was locked and it was alleged it was used for storage.

Ms P Mantashe (ANC) added that the report must speak generally of the hygiene issue at the Offices, as the cleanliness of the entire place was a health hazard.

Chairperson Ms Yengeni suggested a permanent staff member be employed to clean the Nyanga Centre, which would also create employment. There was permanently employed cleaning staff at the Bellville Office. This would be added as a finding and a recommendation.

Ms S Van Schalkwyk (ANC) raised the concern of the UIF application; it was a 5 week process as stated by the Offices, but in reality that was not happening, as members found out on oversight from members of the public who were interviewed. The minutes would state that they were informed the turnaround time on UIF applications was 5 weeks, but that was disputed.

Mr America asked for clarification on a note made on the IT systems, which was noted and clarified by the Committee secretary. 

Ms Mantashe raised concern about the security at the Centre, which was outsourced. She suggested the Committee employ and train someone. It could not, as the Department of Labour, not be implementing the policies it suggested. That would be more cost effective than outsourcing. Members agreed.

Ms Loliwe directed the members to item 6.2, the Issue of the Quota for the day System: all Members were concerned about people being turned away after arriving at the labour Centre on time. The quota system was not assisting the clients.

Ms Mantashe recommended that it must not be a specific quota per day, but rather a reasonable time that it stopped accepting members of the public. Staff members could also be paid overtime when required to be there.
Ms Loliwe raised concern about the staff members’ labour rights and their expected time of ending work.

Mr America stated that there was a need to consider reasonability in approaching the matter.

Members agreed with Mr I Ollis (DA) to make a recommendation that the labour centres should remain open until a reasonable time, and the Minister must apply their mind to what that meant, at the same time making the Department aware that the Committee was aware of times when it had closed its doors early.

The Chairperson was worried about people being turned away, especially when they had to borrow money to go to the labour centres.

Mr Ollis agreed with the Chairperson and stated that government departments must be responsive; if a person came before closing time the departments must finish with them. Poor people could not always come the next day.

The Chairperson raised a concern about the need for a call centre in Nyanga, as in Bellville, and Ms Loliwe asked the secretary to elaborate on tools of trade to give the reader more information on that.

The Committee adopted the report with amendments.

Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour (Visit to the Fishing Industry) 21 October 2014
Members made various stylistic amendments such as adding page numbers and rectifying typing errors.

Mr M Tlouamma (AgangSA) asked for clarification on Point 2; however Ms Loliwe said it was a management report, not what the Committee was saying. It was under the Committee ‘Findings’ where the Committee made its commentary or any disputes it had.

Ms Loliwe directed the Committee through the other points that did not need correction.

Ms Mantashe was concerned about the Occupational Health and Safety Act and asked if the Committee had established whether the company it had visited had a health and safety committee as it was an area where there was high risk

Mr Bagraim said the inspector had mentioned it had such a Committee, but would look into that.

Ms Loliwe said it was fortunate that the Inspectors from the Department of Labour had joined the visit and assisted with picking up so of the distortions that had been supplied to the committee.

Mr PG Moteka (EFF) said that it must be noted that workers paid for their protection material if they wanted it upgraded.

Ms Loliwe said that in fact workers received safety material, if they wanted to upgrade their safety gear it was at their own cost and that would be noted.

The Chairperson responded to Ms Mantashe’s question that it was not established whether a safety committee exist.

Mr Bagraim directed the Committees attention to point 5.3 and stated that the company it visited had said they submitted an employment equity plan, and the inspector said he would follow up on that, however the report seemed to indicate that there was no such plan.

The Chairperson responded that when the issue of an equity plan was probed the owner was honest and said he was trying to make a profit and compete with big fishing companies. After this probing with the owner, it seemed there was a plan but the Committee was not convinced the plan was aligned with what the Department required. The owner stated he did submit a plan with the Department of Labour but had not heard from the Department.
The Committee agreed that it was incorrect as reflected, and it must be reflected in the report that it still wanted to receive the plan and that it required the inspectorate to produce the plan and then review it and work with the company to achieve the plan. This was suggested by Mr Bagraim who had a feeling the inspectors did not care or did not look at the plans or investigate if the plans were implemented.

Mr PG Moteka (EFF) was weary of blaming the inspectors when he had witnessed the company owner avoiding the question of his equity plan by stating he was competing with big businesses.

The Chairperson said the report already stated the inspector must assist, it must just emphasis that. The inspector needed a deadline to go back and check up on the findings and recommendations. The companies must also come back on these issues. The Committee would write a letter to them stating they would be called at a specific time to deal with these issues and findings and they could advise the Committee on their findings and recommendations, but would not ambush them on the issue.

Ms Mantashe suggested the Committee recommend that they establish an on sight health and safety inspector.

This was included under the Committees recommendations.

The Committee adopted the Report with amendments.

Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour (Oversight Visit to the Farms in the Eastern Cape) November 2014
The Committee made stylistic changes to the document (adding page numbers).

Mr Ollis was disappointed with this oversight visit and the health and safety of the workers. Workers were being injured. There were three problems: farmers were not issuing safety equipment, labour inspectors were not emphasising safety precautions, and workers had safety gear but were not wearing it. The Compensation Fund needed to deal with that. The Minister needed to do a safety blitz emphasising the matter, and investigations must be done as to the reasons why workers were not wearing the safety equipment. He suggested that the Committee must take a stronger line on this and the Department must instruct inspectors to ensure farmers issued safety gear and that workers wore them.

Ms Van Schalkwyk agreed. The Department of Labour must make workers conscious of the issue, as they did not know what constituted an injury on duty. The Committee must also deal with the issue of safety gear only being issued every few years.

Mr Moteka agreed. Many of these safety issues were not new to the inspectors. They needed to be visiting these farms more often than the Committee did.

A deadline of January 2015 was given to address the concerns.

The Committee adopted the report with amendments.

Minutes from a series of workshops on the National Minimum Wage 20 August - 19 September 2014
Ms Loliwe asked for guidance from the Committee as to whether it should discuss the public hearings as they currently were or wait until all the hearings were completed.

Mr Ollis asked if the Committee could have separate reports, on the submissions made and the Public hearings. The report on the submissions was fine as it was; it could be discussed and adopted so that later the report on the hearings could be discussed and adopted alone in the future.

Ms T Gasebonwe-Tongwane (ANC) said the report was incomplete as the trade unions had not given submissions.

Mr WM Madisha (COPE) said while the Committee was busy with this process, which would take up until June, it would also be dealing with public hearings on the minimum wage, and during that process issues would come up on the issue of minimum wage and wage compliance and security etc. Existing issues and discoveries made should be dealt with as the process happened. The committee and the department needed to continue to check existing compliance.

Ms Loliwe agreed the committee and department needed to be responsive as issues come up during the submissions and public hearings.

Mr Moteka said the Committee could not agree on an incomplete thing, it must still deal with federations and submissions by other stakeholders but agreed that companies must still comply with existing determinations.

Mr America said there were elements of the report that were not applicable at this point, but it was a summary of presentations by various stakeholders, the substance of which the Committee did not take responsibility for. The Committee was checking that it was a true reflection of the submissions made. There was no need to wait until all submissions were made.

Mr Tlouamma stated it was the Committee’s intention to go around the country for people to make submissions on the minimum wage. After the Public hearing, it would help to have an overall picture of what people wanted and how the minimum wage would be implemented.

Mr Moteka said the nation had not fully participated; only a few universities had made submissions.

Ms Gasebonwe-Tongwane said procedurally the report would become incremental once tabled in Parliament.

Ms Mantashe agreed that it was a fruitless experience to discuss something that was incomplete. The Committee should just note the draft then discuss the full report later.

The Chairperson said the purpose of compiling the short report was an informative summary and a courtesy for Members. The decision and discussion would happen one day in the future after the process was complete.

Mr Ollis stated that the report did not have a word on public hearings, just on submissions. The Committee would get further reports from different stakeholders, the unions etc. It was an assessment of submissions.
The Chairperson agreed it was not their report; it was minutes from the submissions.

Mr America then suggested the removal of noted overall findings and overall recommendations, which the Committee agreed with.

Mr WM Madisha stressed that the Committee needed to find a way to ensure that inspectors did their work.

Ms Loliwe noted that then Item 14 and 15 did not form part of the report.

The Committee noted the report and would deal with all reports on the topic next year.

The Committee then adopted the Minutes as a summary of the Submissions made of the National Minimum Wage.

The Chairperson asked Zolani, the committee secretary to look at reports on public hearings and where people complained, then ask the Department to follow up on these reports.

Adoption of minutes
Ms F Loliwe (ANC) noted that the Minutes for adoption had been with Members for a while, and had already emailed through to the Committee secretary any changes they may have had.

Ms Loliwe stated that members would go through the minutes, page by page, for corrections.

- Portfolio Committee on Labour Draft Minutes of Proceedings 19 September 2014
There were no changes made and the Committee adopted the minutes.

- Portfolio Committee on Labour Draft Minutes of Proceedings 25 September 2014
The minutes were adopted without amendments.

- Portfolio Committee on Labour Draft Minutes of Proceedings 15 October 2014
The minutes were adopted without amendments. 

- Portfolio Committee on Labour Draft Minutes of Proceedings 16 October 2014
The minutes were adopted without amendments.
- Portfolio Committee on Labour Draft Minutes of Proceedings 17 October 2014
The minutes were adopted without amendments.

- Portfolio Committee on Labour Draft Minutes of Proceedings 28 October 2014
The minutes were adopted without amendments.

Committee programme
The Committee then spent time discussing flight arrangements for their oversight visits to three provinces (North West, Gauteng and Free State) and which Committee Members would be in attendance.

The Committee also discussed clashes with other Committee oversight visits.


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