Unfair labour practice complaints escalate during lockdown

The Commission for Conciliation Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA ) of South Africa says it has been inundated with complaints of unfair labour practices during the coronavirus lockdown. Domestic workers have filed the most complaints with more than 40 000 cases lodged so far.

CCMA offices around the country are closed due to the lockdown, however the CCMA is still able to receive complaints electronically.

Executive Director Cameron Morajane says the complaints can only be attended to after the lockdown.

” There’s about 43 000 employees who are domestic workers who lost employment. I then told my team to contact them that we can receive all application referrals but we cannot settle them down in April. It’s those who have not been paid, those who’s salaries have been deducted, those who are told not to work and those who are  told to take leave.”

Increasing numbers of UIF claims

Meanwhile, the Unemployment Insurance Fund says the processing of claims has been hampered by some individuals trying to fraudulently claim during the national lockdown.

The Department of Labour’s COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) is meant to be a response to the challenges faced by businesses in distress due to the coronavirus lockdown.

During this period a lot of companies have closed, which has led to staff being without work and therefore without their regular salary.

UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping says they are facing challenges with having to verify claims while adhering to the lockdown regulations.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a backlog really. The one thing that our people don’t talk about is the compliance of companies and as a result of a lockdown. That means in some of these cases where we need to confirm if an employee is compliant, we are not able to do so; and when we need to send inspectors we are also adhering to social distancing. Companies are not complying and it’s quite embarrassing and we also have received a number of people who are taking chances assuming that we will just process their claims because there’s a lockdown. We will not be doing due diligence, so there are a number of those people who are delaying the process,”  says Maruping.