Swift action against KwaZulu-Natal employers who break the law
20 April 2010
Labour inspectors have moved swiftly to enforce labour laws in the wholesale and retail sector following an intense inspection drive of more than 600 employers across KwaZulu-Natal.
Preliminary reports still being received from the provinces' 16 labour centres reveal an alarmingly low level of compliance with more than half of the workplaces visited found to be contravening various aspects of employment conditions and safety standards as prescribed by relevant legislation.
In Pietermaritzburg, inspectors have served prohibition notices at two major retail supermarkets where it was found that there was immediate danger being posed to the lives of workers as a result of disregarding occupational health and safety measures.
In one instance, the employer did not provide the appropriate personal protective wear for working in a cold room which is in direct violation of the environmental regulations for workplaces. At the second supermarket, the employer was found not to be complying with the electrical installation regulations. In both instances the notices remain in force and will not be revoked until inspectors are satisfied that all safety precautionary measures are met by the employers concerned.
Contravention notices were also served to other employers in cases where no first aiders were appointed at workplaces or a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act was not displayed.
In terms of the sectoral determination nine for the sector, inspectors were concerned about the high level of non-compliance when it comes to the payment of minimum wages, no written particulars of employment, no payslips issued, annual leave not granted as prescribed, no proof of registration with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), attendance registers not in place and the non-payment of overtime.
All employers found to be on the wrong side of the law were given set timeframes to comply. Follow up inspections will be conducted and employers who still disregard the law may face court action to be initiated by the department.
Employers found to be fully compliant are applauded for adhering to labour standards and being cooperative with inspectors. The drive in KwaZulu-Natal was part of a national inspection campaign set to remain as a permanent feature of the department's efforts to protect vulnerable workers country wide.