In considering the Labour budget, the ACDP would just like to highlight three areas of concern.
Firstly, it is not clear how far the department is in terms of being ready with regulations and other necessary measures for the implementation of both the new Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Laws Amendment Bill which provides for parental and adoption leave. The excitement generated around these laws have left many people hopeful and anxious to be able to benefit.
The second concern is linked to the first and the realisation that many more people will have no idea about their rights in terms of these pieces of legislation. Employers will also need to benefit from awareness campaigns.
The ACDP calls on the department to ensure that awareness campaigns, regulations and other measures necessary to deliver on the provisions of the bills are planned for and speedily executed so that there are no unnecessary delays in implementation once the Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Laws Amendment Bill are signed into law.
The ACDP welcomes the progress made with regard to a minimum wage in South Africa, although we are troubled by the reality that the minimum wage is NOT a livable wage. We appeal to employers NOT to regard the minimum wage as a norm. It is only a worst-case scenario.
The ACDP is also encouraged by the support shown for the ACDP’s Labour Laws Amendment Bill that has taken cautious but definite steps in recognising the importance of family and the need for parents to bond with their children and share child care responsibilities.
Lastly, the ACDP would like to raise concerns about the lack of funds budgeted for labour inspectors, without which workers will be extremely vulnerable to the whims of unethical employers. How many lives would be spared if inspections were being more regularly and thoroughly carried out? Farm workers are spread so far and wide that they are unlikely to see labour inspectors very often and this makes an even stronger argument for the need for awareness campaigns to target relevant sectors so that people know their rights and have, at least, some hope of standing up for themselves where budgets fail to do so.
The ACDP will support the department in all efforts to provide the support workers and families need in order to be productive and to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.
SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATES: Budget Vote 28: Labour
15 May 2018