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Employers using all tricks to circumvent labour laws – CCMA

The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has called on the Department of Labour inspectorate to join forces to clamp down on the growing practice of deliberate circumventing of the labour laws.

CCMA Legal Researcher: Office of the Director, Wilbur van Niekerk said there was a growing trend used by employers of using every trick in the book not to comply with labour laws. He also said of growing concern the unilateral change of conditions of employment.

Van Niekerk was addressing a Department of Labour Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) Strategic Workshop held at The Lake Hotel and Conference Centre in Benoni, Ekurhuleni. The two-day workshop ends today. It was held to review the work of the inspectorate in 2018/19, prepare for changes in the labour market, prepare the new role of the inspectorate in the labour market, and strengthening of enforcement.

His address at the workshop was on the impact of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act, and the amended Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and Unemployment Insurance Act (UI Act).

About three months into the enactment of the NMW Act, the amended BCEA and the UI Act he said the CCMA case load in 2018/2019 has risen by eight percent.

The NMW Act alone accounted for 262 referrals since the beginning of the year until March 2019, he said.

The proclamation to bring about the NMW Act was signed into law at Kliptown by President Cyril Ramaphosa in December last year. The NMW Act came into effect on 01 January 2019. In terms of the NMW Act no worker should earn below the R20 minimum wage per hour. Sectors excluded at this stage include the Domestic Workers, Farmworkers, Expanded Public Works Programme and learnerships.

Van Niekerk said the bulk of referrals were coming from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

What is referred in the NMW Act? Van Niekerk said these relate to failure to pay any amount owing 204 (78 percent); unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment 34 (13 percent); any other dismissal related to NMWA 11 (4 percent); disputes relating to Compliance Orders 7 (3 percent); dismissals for operations reasons related to NMW Act 4 (2 percent); application to make Compliance Order an Arbitration Award 2 (1 percent).

Some of the problematic sectors in terms of new legislation referrals include business/professional services, safety/security, building/construction, retail, domestic, food/beverage, contract cleaning, transport, agriculture/farming, and educators (private).

Van Niekerk said the eight percent impact of the new legislation referrals on overall referrals received is in line with the expected trends of referrals.

“In terms of trends and observations this provides us with an opportunity to target industry sectors for workplace transformation,” he told inspectors.


Issued by:

Teboho Thejane

Department of Labour Spokesperson

082 697 0694

Patrick Deale
Patrick Deale
Patrick has worked in law and alternative dispute resolution for 25 years in a wide range of industries and sectors. As a senior legal executive for a listed company, he gained first-hand experience of the issues business managers and employees deal with day-to-day.

Patrick co-founded Tokiso Dispute Settlement (Pty) Ltd in 2000, the largest private dispute resolution agency in the country, where he was full-time CEO for six years. He is a highly skilled and experienced labour negotiator, mediator, arbitrator and facilitator. He is a commercial mediator, coach and assessor, accredited by CEDA (UK). He also serves as Acting Judge of the Labour Court.

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