Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoMail & Guardian reports that budget cuts to the Department of Employment & Labour’s (DEL’s) inspectorate have sparked concerns that “unscrupulous employers” will go unchecked while workplace safety deteriorates.

The labour inspectorate — tasked with weeding out employers who fail to keep their workers safe — had more than R63-million cut from its budget last year. Labour inspectors visit workplaces to investigate complaints by workers and to make sure they comply with labour laws, like the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. When Covid-19 hit SA a year ago, the inspectorate received a wave of complaints by workers that their bosses were not complying with pandemic-related protocols put in place to stop the spread of the virus in the workplace. Inspectors conducted 24,252 health and safety checks and the overall compliance rate was only 56%. Despite receiving a boost to its budget last year, the DEL’s director general Thobile Lamati said the subsequent cut might mean that inspections will have to be scaled down. Lamati pointed out that though the initial budget cuts were not felt in 2021 — because of decreased travel costs — this would likely change as the economy re-opened and inspectors were expected to work at their full capacity. Last year, the DEL department decided to reduce its inspection targets by 15%. “The implication of that is we will visit fewer workplaces,” Lamati said, adding that vulnerable workers will be exposed to “unscrupulous employers” as a result.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sarah Smit at Mail & Guardian (paywall access only)

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page