Taking COSATU Today Forward, 14 October 2021

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Norman Mampane

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Oct 14, 2021, 9:56:43 AMOct 14
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COSATU TODAY

#Cosatu holds Provincial Shopsteward Councils

#VoteANC on November 1

#ClassConsciousness

Taking COSATU Today Forward

‘Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense’-Maoo

 

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Our side of the story

Thursday, 14 October 2021


Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’

Join COSATU Now

Fight against intransigence of employers who do not register workers with UIF at all workplaces!

Mobilize against #COVID19 infections Now!

We shall overcome!

Contents                      

o   Workers Parliament: Back to Basics!

  • COSATU North West convenes a PSSC on the 15th of October 2021 in Rustenburg
  • Employment and Labour continues to make a difference through UIF funding

o   South Africa

Ø  Minister Mondli Gungubele on phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus

o   International-Workers’ Solidarity!

Ø  Unions campaign for recognition at Chinese-owned textile and garment factories in Uganda

Workers’ Parliament-#Back2Basics COSATU North West convenes a PSSC on the 15th of October 2021 in Rustenburg

Kopano Konopi, COSATU North West Provincial Secretary, 14 October 2021

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the Northwest will be convening a Provincial Shop steward council which will be attended by shop stewards from all affiliates in the province. 

This will be the first Shop steward council since the breakout of the pandemic in the country and the declaration of the national state of disaster by the province in March 2020 

The PSSC is convened amongst others to deal with the following:

  • To update the workers of the work of the federation and the program of the federation in the province.
  • To mobilize workers to go out and vote for the ANC in the upcoming local
  • To develop a mobilisation program in support of the ANC in the upcoming local government elections.
  • To update workers on the current developments in the country both at the political and economic front. 

The PSSC is expected to be attended by more than 700 shop stewards drawn from all affiliates from all corners of the province 

The PSSC will be addressed amongst others by the member of the ANC NEC comrade Thandi Modise and the Deputy General Secretary of COSATU comrade Solly Phetoe, and other alliance partners. 

The PSSC will be held at the Rustenburg Civic Center on the 15th October 2021 starting from 10H00.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the PSSC and report 

________

Employment and Labour continues to make a difference through UIF funding

14 Oct 2021

UIF continues to make a difference to lives of ordinary workers in time of Covid and beyond

It has been 17 months since Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee scheme was introduced to save jobs and ease the financial burden on businesses and most importantly, their vulnerable workers who lost income during the lockdown.

Since then, the Unemployment Insurance Fund UIF has disbursed R63 billion bringing relief to about 5,4 million workers since the start of the lockdown last year to date, thus ensuring that the South African economy does not tank and that workers are not left destitute.

The figure is the biggest amount that has been paid by the government to help workers, businesses and the economy mitigate the impact of the lockdowns.

Considering the fact that the initial budget was R40 billion which has now been exceeded by R23 billion, is a remarkable feat by all standards.

While we celebrate the positive impact of Covid -19 TERS to employers and employees, many pay outs are still outstanding largely due to employers who were none-compliant prior to submitting claims for their workers. In some cases, the delays are as a result of ‘errors’ committed by employers in the process of lodging applications.

We commend 404 employers who heeded our recent call to fix errors, which resulted in the payment of R9 633 516.74 to 10181 employees. The bulk of errors relate to incorrect banking details, incorrect ID or passport numbers, no declarations found, applications for: deceased, underage, incarcerated, and government employees, and incorrect salary received during lockdown.  

Dishonesty and Fraudulent acts

While the good work continued, we received with concern grievances that employers did not pay over the money to their workers. The first reports of the “follow the money project” which we instituted to address accountability on these monies, painted a picture of dishonesty and fraudulent acts by some employers.

This included:

· Employers claiming for employees who are working. In those instances, the Covid-19 TERS money was not paid over to employees – it having been claimed fraudulently and not for workers;

· Employers submitted false claims;

· Money was utilised for personal expenses such as paying for credit cards, buying luxurious cars, utilised for operating costs etc;

· The employer claimed Covid-19 TERS but still paid employees full salary – meaning there should have been no TERS claim; Covid-19 TERS funds;

We have noted, with regret, the same tendency appears present in the claims for the unrest in parts of KZN and Gauteng in July. The UIF has had to vigilantly carry out due diligence, verification etc. Out of about 500 employers that applied for about R16 000 employees, a number have already claims or in the process of claiming from insurance companies where salaries are covered, some applied for and shall get help from IDC which also covers salaries in their intervention. Yet some of these employers still apply for UIF benefit.

We have also noted that some have false SAPS case numbers and luckily our system can pick up through checks that the cases are not genuine.

“We urge all to act honestly, these are hard earned monies for vulnerable workers, not ‘get rich quick schemes,” said Yawa.

List in website

Through collaboration with law enforcement agencies 18 arrests have already been effected with the latest culprits arrested by the Hawks in Gauteng last week for fleecing the Fund of R10 million in Covid TERS payments.

“Following extensive investigations and through the involvement of the follow the money project forensic audits, the suspects were arrested and charged. We are delighted that this project is bearing fruits as we have been able to recover close to R900 million to the UIF’s coffers”, said Advocate Mzie Yawa, Acting UIF Commissioner.

While the UIF celebrates this achievement we still have many outstanding claims awaiting correction of errors by employers. “We have and continue to proactively communicate to employers through letters, calls, webinars, as well as social media guiding them to fix the error codes on the Covid-19 TERS portal so we can process outstanding claims. We are also working with social partners at NEDLAC to help encourage their business members to correct the error codes. 

“The Fund continuously re-process claims that are already in the system so that those that have been corrected and have passed validations can be paid when payment re-runs are conducted. We are confident that, working with NEDLAC social partners, we shall meet our target of having these at zero by the end of December 2021,” says Yawa.

The Fund will increase the frequency of re-running the system to pick up those applications that have been corrected in order to ensure that it meets the target of having a zero outstanding claims by 31 December 2021.

The lists of employers who must fix errors and those that appear to have engaged in fraudulent activities are on our website.

Media enquiries:
Makhosonke Buthelezi
Cell: 071 491 7236
E-mail: 
Makhosonke...@labour.gov.za(link sends e-mail)  

Musa Zondi
Cell: 067 426 4190
E-mail: 
musa....@labour.gov.za(link sends e-mail)

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

South Africa

Minister Mondli Gungubele on phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus

14 Oct 2021

Statement by Minister in the Presidency, Mr Mondli Gungubele during the announcement of phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus

Theme: Overview of the Presidential Employment Stimulus:

I would like to welcome you all to this briefing, which will focus on two things: first, to reflect on what has been achieved in the first phase of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, and second, to outline our plans for the next phase.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus was launched by the President in October 2020 in response to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment. It is a crucial pillar of the broader Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The employment stimulus has supported a portfolio of programmes in three key areas:

· Public employment interventions;

· Livelihood support to sustain self-employment (such as early childhood development, the creative sector and agriculture); and

· Protecting existing jobs in vulnerable sectors.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus represents the most rapid expansion of public employment in South Africa’s history, and has been implemented with unprecedented speed and scale.

Eleven national departments were responsible for implementing programmes supported by the stimulus in Phase 1, coordinated by the Presidency. This represented a new way of working across government to achieve a common objective.

The main objective of the stimulus is to use public investment to create jobs rapidly and at scale to provide support to those who need it most. In addition to creating jobs and supporting incomes, the stimulus aims to support local economic recovery by providing a wider stimulus for consumer spending in poor communities.

It is important for us to note that employment recovery must ultimately be driven by growth in the private sector. Government is implementing a range of interventions, including structural reforms through Operation Vulindlela, to revive growth and support firms to create jobs.

In the short term, however, public employment can provide meaningful work and a stable income, while keeping people connected to the labour market and giving them skills to enhance their employability later on.

More than 550,000 jobs and livelihoods have been supported to date as part of Phase 1, with an overall target of 694,120 opportunities. Several programmes are still in implementation, and we expect this number to increase further.

This represents more than half a million South Africans who have already benefitted directly from the stimulus, either through employment or by receiving a grant to sustain their own economic activity.

The first phase of the employment stimulus has provided valuable lessons for what we can achieve if we set our ambitions higher, if we forge strong partnerships with organisations across society, and if we work together across government.

Phase 2 of the employment stimulus has now commenced implementation, with a total of R11 billion allocated by National Treasury. This will support the continuation of some programmes from Phase 1, as well as a range of new programmes.

The recruitment of 287,000 young people as school assistants is already underway, and participants will be placed in November.

Phase 2 will include the establishment of a new Social Employment Fund, which will support work for common good in communities provided by organisations outside of the state.

Phase 2 will also support the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, including the establishment of the national Pathway Management Network, the revitalization of the National Youth Service, and a new model of skills training for unemployed youth linked to employment.

Unemployment is the single greatest challenge that we must confront as a society. The continued success of the employment stimulus reflects government’s commitment to address this challenge, and to support employment while the labour market recovers.

Our other colleagues, Minister De Lille and Minister Nxesi will further unpack the contribution of the Presidential Employment Stimulus to scaling up public employment and particularly youth employment.

We will also receive a detailed presentation from our colleagues in the Presidency on Phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

International #Solidarity

Unions campaign for recognition at Chinese-owned textile and garment factories in Uganda

14 October, 2021

After recruiting and organizing most of the workers in the Chinese-owned textile and garment factories in Mbalala Mukono, the Uganda Textile Garment Leather and Allied Workers Union (UTGLAWU) is shocked by the continued refusal by the employers to recognize the union, in violation of Uganda labour law.

The factory owners refuse to sign recognition agreements for purposes of collective bargaining as required by the law when a union organizes more than 50 per cent of workers in a factory. According to the IndustriALL Global Union National Coordinating Council of Uganda (INCCU), made up of IndustriALL affiliates in the country, the factories, which include Bode, Euro Vision, Fine Spinners, Jinguo, Sunbelt Textile Company, Tonyong, Unistar, and Wilima are ignoring letters from the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development instructing them to recognize UTGLAWU.

To push for recognition, the unions are conducting joint campaigns under the East Africa Union Building Project which is supported by the Danish Trade Union Development Agency (DTDA) and the Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (TEKNA). The unions met with the labour ministry on 30 September to demand that the government enforces the labour regulations and for the Industrial Court to speed up the cases. Further, they are planning to meet with the Minister of State for Labour, Charles Okello Engola.

“We appreciate government efforts in coming out boldly to order the employers to recognize the union. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the number of employers retrenching workers without informing the Ministry of Labour is increasing, yet they are getting stimulus packages from the government. Other employers are frustrating union efforts to collect dues from its members.

“However, we are calling upon the government to organize a meeting with non-complying Chinese employers - some of whom claim not to understand English - a chance to respond to our demands before we take court action. The employers must respect the union, and the fundamental and constitutional rights of the workers,” wrote the unions in a statement.

Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa says:

“Textile and garment factory owners in Uganda must recognize national and international labour standards by recognizing the union, and we support the campaign by Ugandan unions for the respect of trade union and workers’ rights.”

Unions that are participating in the campaign in support of UTGLAWU are the Uganda Printers, Paper, Polyfibre, and Allied Workers Union (UPPAWU), Uganda Chemical, Petroleum, and Allied Workers Union (UCPAWU), National Union of Clerical Commercial Professional and Technical Employees (NUCCPTE), and Uganda Hotel, Tourism, Supermarket and Allied Workers Union (HTS-U).

Currently the garment industry is dominated by small to medium scale enterprises. According to the country’s National Development Plan III, Uganda aims to increase cotton production, domestic value addition, and to create over 50,000 new jobs along the cotton to clothes value chain.

__________________________

Norman Mampane (Shopsteward Editor)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street, Braamfontein, 2017

P.O.Box 1019, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct line: 010 219-1348

 

 

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