The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is accusing the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) of exploiting workers during the national lockdown.
Numsa says employers should not shift the burden of the lockdown onto the workers.
The union is demanding that employers should not force workers to take paid leave from their annual leave because the National Disaster declared by government is not the fault of the workers.
The union says workers should be paid in full during the lockdown period. “As a member of the Metal Engineering and Industries Bargaining Council, we are here to advise NEASA to work hand in glove with the department of labour to secure the temporary relief scheme for all workers in the Metal and Engineering Industry. We have given full support for the signing of the memorandum of understanding between MEI and DOL which we see that workers, especially, metal workers receive an income during lockdown. Similar agreements have been signed in other sectors as well,” says Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.
Financial support for businesses
Government encourages employers who are able to pay their staff to continue doing so. However, not all companies can. President Cyril Ramaphosa has put together a package of economic measures in partnership with business and labour to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus in the country.
Below are some of the economic support measures to assist businesses and individuals affected by the national lockdown:
Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme
The Labour Department has published relief measures in response to the challenges being faced by businesses in distress due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
During this period, companies have closed, staff have had to take leave and some have even lost their jobs completely. The Unemployment Insurance Fund ( UIF) is one of the entities that will be handling the process.
In the video below, UIF Commissioner, Teboho Maruping, explains the process to be followed during this period.
Relief for farmers
Farmers in Mpumalanga that are making a turnover of between R20 000 and R1 million will receive vouchers not exceeding R50 000 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.
MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs in Mpumalanga Vusi Shongwe announced the relief measures during a meeting with farmers associations in Ermelo.
AgriSA Provincial coordinator, Jerry Mthombothi, says the situation has left some farmers vulnerable.
“The farmers are facing a big problem because if the workers are not working, they are not supposed to get paid. So these people will have a big problem in supporting their families and farmers are not able to take their produce to the market if the laborers are not working”.
The Department of Small Business Development is assisting SMMEs who are negatively affected, directly or indirectly, due to the #CoronavirusInSouthAfrica pandemic. Here is useful information in applying for assistance: https://t.co/iYx1jkqB4N #COVID19SouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/e6z2t1aech
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) April 2, 2020