The COSATU affiliated Union, Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (CEPPWAWU), calls on the Minister of Employment and Labour to compel employers to submit UIF Applications on behalf of the employees.
The Minister has enough powers in his disposal, and shouldn’t be shy, as employers are now reneging from the promise made and accepted to do when consulted by His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, before he announced the lockdown.
The Minister cannot be indifferent and impede the president’s good deed; and be cosy-complicit to employers who are reneging, disingenuous, and want workers to shoulder the burden of lockdown through (unpaid and or paid)Leave, when its them(employers) whom were consulted through their various bodies that represents them with promises made.
We demand that the Minister communicate effectively and clearly together with consequences to those companies that violate the department’s instructions.
Let’s jog the memory of the Minister of Employment and Labour, that chiefly among many points, the president addressed the nation on two fundamental points, which encompasses the responsibilities that resides within the Ministry of Employment and Labour.
The President said:
1. “We are in consultation on a proposal for a special dispensation for companies that are in distress because of COVID-19. Through this proposal employees will receive wage payment through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme, which will enable companies to pay employees directly during this period and avoid retrenchment.”
2. “Many large companies that are currently closed have accepted their responsibility to pay workers affected. We call on larger businesses in particular to take care of their workers during this period.”
Therefore, we put it to the Minister that he should not short-change the workers (workers are exploited enough) as employers are forcing workers to take leave in exchange of lockdown period as if the lockdown is workers’ fault.
The Union is now, inundated with desperate calls from members whereby the employers are acting outside the spirit and sincere address of the president, to stop the spread of novel COVID-19 infections and cross contaminations.
Furthermore, when addressing the nation on April, 09, 2020 and extension of lockdown, amongst other things the president said;
“We will use the coming days to evaluate how we will embark on risk-adjusted measures that can enable a phased recovery of the economy,allowing the return to operation of certain sectors under strictly controlled conditions.” [President Ramaphosa]
It is within the contexts of all these measures affecting workers as announced by the President (now and before) that as a union; we reaffirm our call to the Minister of Employment and Labour, to communicate clearly and effective by compelling employers to lodge the UIF on behalf of the employees, all compensations workers, employers are entitled and to stop employers forcing workers to take leave.
The union, further reconfirm support for lockdown including the extension as announced by President Ramaphosa to help stop the spread of novel COVID-19, and that employers must play their part as per OHS-Act and the directives from the Minister of Health and World Health Organization (WHO) on how to limit and contain the spread of coronavirus epidemic guidelines.
Lastly, let us all observe this brief lockdown moment and adhere to all regulations as provided by government.
Let’s stop the virus! All hands on deck!
‘CEPPWAWU calls for an End to all Economic-Sanctions & Save Lives-COVID-19’
Issued by CEPPWAWU National Office, 12 April 2020
Contact: 010 206 6600
General Secretary, Cde Welile Nolingo, 063 691 3112
Deputy General Secretary, Cde Musa Bhengu, 063 691 3113