The Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, has admonished employers not to dismiss workers collectively and then re-employ and pay them at National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate or even less.
Oliphant said government was aware of a new tactic that was gathering traction. The Minister was addressing an hour-long live webcast at the Nelson Mandela Foundation last week. The webcast was organised by the Department of Labour in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Pretoria Office. The event formed part of the ILO’s centenary celebrations which was marked by a day-long ‘virtual’ Global Tour, live-streaming special Centenary events from 24 ILO offices around the world in a continuous, 24-hour webcast.
The intention is that each ILO office in collaboration with the Member State where the office is located will contribute an hour of live webcasting, with a local flavour, creating a global picture of the diversity and range of the ILO’s work. The ILO is an agency of the United Nations and has been in operation for 60 years on the African continent.
Oliphant highlighted the government’s political will to ensure the tough enforcement of the implementation of the National Minimum Wage. “Ours as a Government is to strengthen the inspectorate and the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) monitoring roles,” she said. The Minister said labour laws such as the Labour Relations Act exist to strengthen relationships between employers and employees. She said South Africa should pride itself knowing that it had a structure like Nedlac where all social partners were able to deal with problems affecting the labour market.
She indicated that the government was committed to investing in the economy of the country to create the much-needed jobs. She said South Africa was also in support of the recommendations contained in the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work report – that of increasing investment in people’s capabilities, increasing investment in the institutions of work and increasing investment in decent and sustainable work.