About 100 farm workers attended the Labour Imbizo in Thembalethu.
AGRICULTURAL NEWS - The national Minister of Labour Mildred
Oliphant addressed about 100 farm workers at a Labour Imbizo at the Thembalethu Community Hall in George on Saturday 27 June.
The Labour Imbizo was held under the theme 'Inspection and enforcement services' to ensure that employers in the farming sector comply with the law. It aimed to determine whether employees are paid minimum wages, comply with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
Speaking at the gathering, Oliphant said more needs to be done to educate workers about their rights, such as the Labour Relations Act, to prevent exploitation. "Companies that don't comply with the legislation will face the risk of prosecution and employees must report employers who, for example, don't deduct UIF," said Oliphant. The Labour Imbizo was atten-ded by farm workers from different parts of the
Southern Cape, various trade unions and other government dignitaries. Piet Fortuin, a farm worker from Oudtshoorn, said they are working under difficult conditions on the farm.
"Our employer does not even allow us a leave day when we are sick. We are here hoping the minister might assist us and provide solutions to the way we are treated by our employers. At my workplace I can't even complain as I will be threatened with dismissal and will find myself homeless as I reside on my employer's farm," said Fortuin.
Oliphant said the ministry cannot police each and every workplace however, it is the employee's responsibility to report such cases at the nearest labour office and at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
For any labour matters workers are advised to contact the Department of Labour provincial offices on 021 441 8000021 441 8000.
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