Labour inspection team hits the road again
5 April 2010
Fresh from hectic blitz inspections in several sectors, the tough-as-nails inspectors of the department of labour will turn their attention to the wholesale and retail trade industry with countrywide weeklong raids to start on April 12.
The move forms part of the resolve by labour Minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, to ensure that “errant employers have no place to hide and that the decent work agenda is sustained.’’
It also comes amid the recent statement by labour department Director-General, Jimmy Manyi’s statement to the Labour Portfolio Committee that inspections “are to become a permanent feature of our efforts to protect all vulnerable workers.’’
The wholesale and retail sector, which employs 20 percent workers in formal non-agricultural sector, plays a key role in the economy and provides infrastructure and services for the distribution of goods from a supplier to an intermediate or final consumer.
In terms of composition, it varies from one-man stores to large industry players with thousands of employees.
Inspectors will focus on conditions of service that include wages, hours of work, leave, prohibition of child labour and forced labour, termination of employment, information concerning remuneration, deductions and other acts relating to remuneration as well as written particulars of employment.
It is believed that the sector has been increasing as shown by the share of gross value added to the total output. Researchers say although it represents 13 percent of the gross domestic product in nominal value, it expanded by R9.8 billion to R81 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Research further shows that as many as 43 percent of small business operations in South Africa come from the sector.
Also important is that the sector accounts for 44 percent of South Africa’s private consumption patterns.
Another important aspect is that while many sectors contracted in terms of employment due to the global economic downturn, the wholesale and retail industry employed 21 000 more people in the fourth quarter of 2009.
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