South Africa: Labour On Blitz Inspections in Farming Sector As Part of Workers’ Month

Department of Labour unearths anomalies during blitz inspections conducted in the farming sector as part of its Workers' Month programme

The Department of Labour inspected eight (8) farms as part of its Workers Month programme in the Ficksburg, Clocolan and Fouriesburg area. The inspections were aimed at checking the level of compliance with the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Act, Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COIDA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act as well as Employment Equity (EE) Act.

"The level of non-compliance with these different pieces of labour legislation is a cause for concern wherein the Department will have to device decisive interventions to eradicate the practice. This is so because none of the inspected farms was able to get a clean bill of health in so far as labour legislation was concerned."

"We, therefore, need to employ stricter measures and be more visible and vigilant in these workplaces. It cannot be business as usual when the rights of workers are being infringed upon by non-compliant employers who disregard labour legislation continuously," cautioned Ms Nomfundo Douw-Jack - Acting Chief Director: Provincial Operations in Free State.

Be that as it may, it is important to give credit where it is due as only one infringement could be found against Denmaar Estate. The said infringement related to non-compliance with section 56 of the UI Act which refers to the monthly declaration of employees by employers.

Infringements for other farms related to non-compliance with OHS for which prohibition notices, contravention notices and improvement notices were issued. These non-compliances related to unavailability of appointed Health and Safety Representatives, unavailability of records of service for Pressure Equipment, none servicing of Fire Extinguishers, and unavailability of certificates for Electrical Installations.

In terms of the UI Act, non-compliance was rife in relation to section 56 of the Act for which these employers failed to declare their employees monthly with the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Under BCEA some of these employers were found wanting for not paying their employees the minimum wage in terms of the Sectoral Determination 13: Farm Worker Sector. It was also found that some of the employers did not issue their employees with the copies of written particulars of employment in accordance with clause 9 (1) of the Act.

Under EE some of the employers did have the Employment Equity plans as required by law but were not consulted with employees in terms of section 16 of the EEA.

Coupled with these inspections were information sessions which were conducted with workers of the same farms whereby vital information pertaining to provisions of the labour legislation, the services and the benefits of the Department of Labour were shared.

Source: Department of Labour