Huge budget for labour inspectors

2011-07-19 13:15

Government has set aside R60 million to employ additional labour inspectors to monitor labour brokers and ensure they adhere to regulations currently being amended, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said today.

Employing inspectors for the next financial year, in different categories such as enforcing labour law and ensuring safety of workers, was a priority, Oliphant told media in Pretoria.

The money would go towards employing and training them.

Oliphant said talks were being held at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) by government, unions and business with the focus being on amending the labour legislation.

“The central objective of the current round of amendments is to deal with the increase in labour broking and the abuses associated with the practice, which deprive many workers of basic protection under labour law.”

During the current wage strikes, workers have also demanded the banning of labour brokers, with Oliphant blaming the unions for not informing members of the progress made on the issue at Nedlac.

“Workers don’t have information on what’s happening. Federations must report back constantly... no one would strike because they will be informed,” she said.

All representatives in Nedlac were in agreement with regards to certain amendments and were sent to report back and get a go-ahead from their constituencies.

Oliphant said she was told by the labour federation Cosatu, which has been very vocal about the need to ban labour brokers, that raising the issue was part of bargaining.

Discussions on three bills at Nedlac, including the one on labour broking, would be concluded in August.

On the wave of industrial action that has hit the country and led to shortage of petrol, Oliphant urged employers and unions to “meaningfully engage and endeavour to reach agreements on wages and conditions of employment”.

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