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SA Gov | 13 June 2023

“Ensure the implementation of the affirmative action to ensure an equitable workplace representation” – organised labour told.

The Department of Employment and Labour has today encouraged the trade union federations to cascade communication on the Employment Equity (EE) amendments and the Affirmative Action to the workers on the ground.

The Department of Employment and Labour today (13 June 2023) hosted a well engaging and fruitful Workshop with the trade union representatives to capacitate them on their roles and responsibilities as members of the Employment Equity (EE) consultative forums and in the implementation of the EE plans in the workplace to align with EE amendments and EE sector targets.

The Department of Employment and Labour’s Deputy Director: Employment Equity, Mr Niresh Singh, told the union member representatives at the Manhattan Hotel in Pretoria to “ensure the implementation of the affirmative action to ensure an equitable workplace representation”.

“Workplace activism is where unions are important to play a critical role and the fact that we have consultative forums, it means that all of us have the responsibility in implementing the Employment Equity Act and including the Affirmative Action,” said Mr Singh.

He added that there must be consultations between the employers and the trade unions, and that this is required in line with the law concerning designated areas to protect the interests of persons living with disabilities and the interests of women inclusively.

“This is where we find a shortcoming, where the unions are not involved and the law has clarified even more that the employer must consult with the representative trade unions or if there is no trade unions, employers must consult with the employees representing the workforce (or the employees at the various occupational levels).

“But dealing with representative trade unions, although the law allows for the consultation of the representative trade union, the good practice is inclusiveness and try to include everybody as long as it is for the good reasons and the right focus area,” said Mr Singh.

He said unions must also include the non-designated group in the consultative forums, because the non-designated group can hear the challenges faced by the designated group and vice-versa.

“Because all of us want to move forward as South Africans want to do and in an inclusive society that is growth orientated. So these are the things that one needs to reflect,” said Mr Singh.

The trade union federations’ leadership was also informed that every designated employer must:

“Conduct an analysis of the workforce profile to determine the degree of under-representation of the various groups in terms of race and gender and per occupational level.

Conduct an analysis of its employment policies, practices, procedures and the working environment to identify employment barriers.”

The Department’s Deputy Director has further emphatically explained the Employment Equity Act that it is not about race.

“Remember, a lot of the times when we are looking at the Affirmative Action or the Employment Equity Act in our country, people only take one small issue, but change it into a big issue. They think the Employment Equity is only about race and that is not true. Employment Equity is also about including people with disabilities, Coloured people, Indian people, White women and so forth. So that is what we need to be thinking about. Nobody is saying you can occupy a job if you cannot do it,” said Mr Singh.

The trade union federations have welcomed the launch of the Commission of Employment Equity Report launch, which is scheduled to take place next week (23 June 2023).

For more information contact: Teboho Thejane Departmental Spokesperson Cell: 082 697 0694 Email: sends e-mail)

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour ‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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