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  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU condemns government's appalling incompetence and continuous delays in implementing the 2016 Unemployment Insurance Act

COSATU condemns government's appalling incompetence and continuous delays in implementing the 2016 Unemployment Insurance Act .This Act was championed through Parliament and Nedlac with strong support from COSATU. It has been in the pipeline since 2011. Government has continuously assured workers of its support for it, yet it has not been implemented and there is strong possibility that it may take another year to come into effect.

This is despite the fact that the Act was passed by Parliament in December 2016 and signed by the President in January 2017. The Department of Labour and the UIF have not moved an inch to implement it despite assuring workers it would come into effect on 1 May 2017. Its tabling at Parliament was repeatedly delayed by capacity challenges in the Department and Ministry of Labour.

Now we are told there are two typing mistakes in the amended act and it must therefore go back to Parliament to be amended once again. The government has not adopted any sense of agency on this matter despite the fact that these typing mistakes were inserted in the then bill by the Department of Labour.

In the meantime, thousands of workers are losing their jobs across all economic sectors; 70 000 mine workers have lost their jobs in the past 2 years. Anglo-Gold (led by Sipho Pityana of Save SA fame) has now committed itself to retrenching 8500 workers and condemning their families to poverty.

If the Department of Labour was serious, this progressive act would have been passed in 2014 as it had promised at Nedlac and helped thousands of workers. The cavalier approach by the Department and Ministry of Labour is shocking.
Government needs to explain this callousness and complete chaos to workers and also give us a date as to when this mess will be fixed. This must happen as a matter of the urgency because the workers cannot continue to be let down by their own government.

COSATU will be requesting the intervention of the Leader of Government Business, Deputy President, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Speaker, Chief Whip and Parliamentary Committees on Labour to intervene to fix this disaster.

COSATU has strongly supported the Act as it will:

  • Increase UIF benefits from 238 to 365 days.
  • Increase maternity leave benefits to 66%.
  • Cover workers who lost working hours due to reduced time at their work place.
  • Separate maternity from UIF benefits and claims.
  • Not exclude workers from UIF and maternity leave benefits if they are members of the Government Employees Pension Fund.
  • Include public servants under the UIF and thus be covered in the event of dismissal.
  • Include women who had miscarriages during the third trimester or a still born birth.
  • Allow the family and/ or nominated beneficiary of deceased claimant to receive their benefits.
  • Prohibit the charging of fees by any party to a UIF claimant.
  • Allow the Minister for Labour to issue regulations for domestic workers and employees of small businesses and enterprises to ensure that they are covered.

Issued by COSATU

Matthew Parks {COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator}
Tel: +27 21 461 3829
Mobile: 082 785 0687
E-Mail: matthew@cosatu.org.za

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