The struggle for social justice is an ongoing endeavour. In an effort to realise this, the Department of Labour has following a notice by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant decided to institute an investigation into wages and conditions of employment in the Abattoir Sector in South Africa.
The investigation to introduce Sectoral Determination, which governs the setting of minimum wages and conditions of employment in the Abattoir Sector is designed to protect vulnerable workers.
Vulnerable workers are in the main described as those workers that lack representation by trade unions to negotiate their rights. These workers often lack a proper work contract and a decent salary, are often discriminated against and denied social benefits like medical aid, pensionrovident funds, and are also not covered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund and Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).
In seeking to protect the vulnerable workers the government is guided by conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
In an effort to address this situation Labour Minister uses legislation to prescribe a Sectoral Determination which prescribes minimum wage and basic conditions of employment to ensure workers live with decency.
The Department ably assisted by the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC), which aises the Minister on Sectoral Determinations will use information gathered from the submissions and during site visits to decide on the nature of the sectoral determination.
During the site visits by Department of Labour officials of a selected Abattoirs spread across all nine provinces – workers and employers will be offered an opportunity to air their views.
The site visits to conduct an investigation into the Abattoir Sector will start simultaneously on 11 June 2015 in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and will conclude on 12 July 2015 in the Western Cape.
Chapter 8 of the Basic Conditions of the Employment Act deals with Sectoral Determination. The Sectoral determination regulates employment conditions in the vulnerable sectors of the economy. The purpose of Sectoral Determination is to lay down conditions of employment for workers such as the minimum wage rates, hours of work, leave, termination of employment among others.
South Africa currently has no national, statutory minimum wage. Therefore, the power to institute a sectoral determination rests with Labour Minister.
South Africa now has sectoral determinations for Artistic and Cultural Activities Children in the Performance of Aertising Sector, Civil Contract Cleaning Sector Civil Engineering Sector Domestic Worker Sector Farm Worker Sector Forestry Sector Hospitality Sector Learnerships Private Security Sector Taxi Sector and Wholesale amp Retail Sector.
The decision to investigate the possibility to introduce a Sectoral Determination in the Abattoir sector dates back 2010, following a request from the Hotel, Liquor, Catering, Commercial and Allied Workers Union (HOTELLICCA).
The Abattoir Sector site visits would seek to provide guidance on who set the minimum wage for the sector at what level should the minimum wage be set method of calculations the rates of adjustments frequency of the review factors to consider when deciding on new wage punitive measures for failure to comply and a host of other factors.
An Abattoir also known as slaughterhouse, shamble, meatwork – is a facility where animals are killed for consumption as food. Abattoirs were historically places managed in a haphazard and unregulated manner, until in modern times following the twin health and social concerns.
Some of the workers who stand to gain from the introduction of Sectoral Determination include those working in boning room or meat boners, (meat) slicers, slaughterers, meat packers samplers sorters testers and packagers.
Issued by: Department of Labour
Source : South African Government