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  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU supports the Minister of Labour; Mildred Oliphant's plan for blitz farm inspections in KwaZulu-Natal farms this coming Friday 21 April 2017

The Congress of South African Trade Unions commends the Minister of Labour; Mildred Oliphant for leading a team of labour inspectors and other law enforcement agencies to conduct blitz farm inspections in KwaZulu-Natal this coming Friday, 21 April 2017. The purpose of these inspections according to the department is to ensure that employers are meeting the required conditions and standards set by our labour laws.

This is long overdue and we want to see more of these kinds of inspections taking place all across the country. COSATU has been urging the department of Labour to intensify farm inspections and make sure that farmers comply with Sectoral determination minimum wages Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and all other prescripts of Labour Relations Act (LRA).

We have been perturbed for a long time by reports that some farmers are deducting electricity, water and rent money to counter the minimum wage. Most farmers still behave like slave masters in this country.

COSATU wants to see more intergovernmental coordination to fight the modern day slavery that is still thriving on our farms. Not only do workers experience, extreme exploitation like these illegal deductions, they also suffer from physical and psychological abuse in the workplace.

During our ongoing Back to Basics and Workplace visits campaign that started last year directed mostly at vulnerable workers, COSATU discovered that on top of these illegal deductions, many workers are forced to exceed the maximum working hours permitted by law. They do not receive the required overtime pay or time off, including overtime provisions.

Most of them do not enjoy their rights to paid sick, family and annual leave. They are mostly not included under the UIF, due to the non-payment of UIF fees by the employers, and also do not enjoy full maternity leave benefits and rights.

The Human Rights Commission should also take on the blatant violation of farm worker's rights by farmers. The department of Labour needs to also work to remove the rotten Labour inspectors, who sometimes collude with these exploitative farmers. We also call on the South African Police Service to root out corruption in their ranks and dismiss those officers, who also collude with farmers and are implicated in enforcing illegal evictions.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794

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