The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will present its submission in support of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour today, 13 April 2021. The Employment Equity Amendment (EEA) Bill provides badly needed interventions to strengthen the government’s ability to hold employers accountable for their role and failures to adhere to the Employment Equity Act. Key progressive provisions in the Bill include:
· Requiring employers in their EE Annual Reports to provide confirmation that they have paid all their workers at or above the National Minimum Wage.
· Expanding the definition of disability to include intellectual and sensory, a long overdue correction.
· Empowering the Minister to set economic sectoral, sub-sectoral, regional, sub-regional and occupation specific targets; enabling more precise targets for sectors, occupations and regions that are notorious for their failures to reflect South Africa’s demographics.
· Allowing for regional and sub-regional variations, critical given the diversity of South Africa’s population found in different provinces etc.
· Requiring employers to consult trade unions on employment equity targets, helping to foster a more inclusive approach to meeting targets and supporting collective bargaining.
· Empowering labour inspectors to inspect and ensure compliance with the EE Act.
· Empowering the Minister to issue compliance certificates to employers in good standing with the EE Act and to require such certificates for companies applying for government contracts. This provision in particular is a welcome step forward requiring employers doing business with the state to be in compliance with labour laws and act in a way that supports good labour practises. Workers’ hard-earned taxes should not be used to reward abusive employers.
COSATU urges Parliament to retain these long-overdue provisions and ensure the speedy passage of this progressive Bill. It should not listen to the usual prophets of doom and snake oil salesman who believe that treating workers like glorified slaves is the way to growing the economy.
It has been shown by countless research that workers who are treated with respect, paid a living wage and who’s rights are respected are the most motivated thus contributing to a more productive workplace and economy.
For further information please contact: Matthew Parks- COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator Cell: 082 785 0687