COSATU welcomes government’s Proposed Extension of Labour Protections to Film & Television Workers

COSATU welcomes the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi’s gazetting of proposed extensions of labour protections and benefits to film and television workers, today.

The Federation supports this long overdue intervention by the Department of Employment and Labour to extend South Africa’s progressive labour laws to workers in the film and television industry.

We welcome the Minister’s proposed inclusion of film and television workers under the National Minimum Wage Act, the Compensation of Injury on Duty Act and Sections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act providing for annual leave, sick Leave, proof of incapacity, injury on duty, maternity leave and severance pay.

However, these proposals do not go far enough.  Film and Television Workers must be included under the entire scope of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act with regards to parental and adoption leave. 

Equally, they must be provided for under the Unemployment Insurance Act.  Film and television work is notoriously short term.  Thus, mechanisms must be developed for such workers to be catered for under the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s protections.

It is a blight upon South Africa that such workers and many other sectors are not covered.  There is a need for a progressive review and overhaul of our labour legislation to ensure that every single worker is indeed fully covered and protected.  This is becoming more critical as new economic sectors develop and the nature of employment rapidly changes. 

Particular attention must be given to ensure that so-called “self-employed and owner-operators” e.g. Uber drivers and delivery drivers, truck drivers, sales agents, call centre operators and those still falling under and exploited and abused by labour brokers and outsourced contractors are fully protected. 

Whilst COSATU welcomes the Minister’s announcement, the federation hopes that government and Parliament will act on it and move with the speed it deserves. 

In simple words, COSATU expects the relevant legislative amendments to be tabled at Nedlac by March 2020, in Parliament by May 2020, passed by Parliament by November 2020, signed by the President by December and to come into effect no later than 1 January 2021. 

The Federation will be sitting on the necks of government and Parliament to ensure that this is done and that no delays occur.  Too often workers have been abused and disappointed by nonsensical and inexplicable delays in government and Parliament. 

For further information please contact: Cde Matthew Parks -Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687