Private security didn't bleed jobs due to minimum wage - labour dept

There has been an "insignificant" number of retrenchments linked to introducing the National Minimum Wage in the private security sector, the Department of Labour has said.

Critics of the NMW have argued that its implementation could result in job losses. In 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa responded that businesses concerned over loss of employment could apply for an exemption.  

Citing statistics issued by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, the department said in its statement on Thursday morning that a number of "positives" emerged from a presentation by the CCMA to the Private Security Seminar held in Braamfontein earlier in the week.

The seminar was organised as part of advocacy campaign to educate stakeholders about compliance with the labour legislation, and also to encourage knowledge sharing between various stakeholders with government. 

'Problematic' industry

The industry has seen rapid growth in recent years. According to the 2018/2019 report by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), over 2 million security officers are registered in SA, and nearly half a million are currently employed by a registered security company. 

However, government has flagged the sector as high risk in terms of complying with labour laws. Department of Labour Chief Director Statutory & Advocacy Services, Advocate Fikiswa Mncanca, said the private security sector had long been "problematic".

Speaking at the seminar, Haroun Docrat, national senior commissioner for collective bargaining at CCMA, said a relatively low rate of unfair dismissal referrals relating to the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA) had been handed over to the CCMA as at May 31, 2019.

Docrat also said there had been a total of 322 private security referrals since the introduction of the NMW and Basic Conditions of Employment Act amendments.

Issues being disputed included alleged underpayment, unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment, disputes relating to compliance orders, and any other dismissal related to the National Minimum Wage Act.

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