To ensure the protection of vulnerable workers from exploitation and create an accessible complaint channel for workers to use for reporting cases of non-compliance with the national minimum wage (NMW) without any cost to them - the Department of Employment and Labour has launched an Impimpa Hotline.
Speaking at the launch of the Impimpa Hotline at Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) offices in Pretoria today (05 March), Employment and Labour Minister T.W Nxesi said workers who are not paid the national minimum wage can now dial the free Impimpa hotline of *134*305# and lodge a case.
The Minister said the Impimpa Hotline was designed to strengthen compliance with the National Minimum Wage determination, currently sitting at R20,76 per hour.
The Impimpa Hotline is envisaged to assist vulnerable, isolated workers such as domestics to report non-compliant employers at no cost. The Department is partnering with cellular service provider, Vodacom, to run the initiative.
Following today's Impimpa launch, the Department will from tomorrow run a R20-million media marketing campaign to popularise the hotline number.
“It (NMW) is not a living wage, but it has already improved the conditions of millions of workers, and establishes the principle of a legal minimum wage upon which we can build when the economy improves. I should mention that minimums for domestic workers and farm workers were initially set slightly lower – but the aim is to align these within two years," Nxesi said.
He said the mandate of the Department has been expanded to include employment, “this, in no way, diminishes the traditional mandate which includes: regulation of the labour market and labour relations to promote decent work, health and safety, employment equity, social security and to carry out the necessary inspections and enforcement to ensure compliance with labour laws".
According to Nxesi, since the introduction of NMW in January 2019, inspections thus far indicated a high degree of compliance in the more formalised sectors.
Nxesi said a series of inspection blitzes have been carried out since last year in a number of sectors such as farming, small-scale retail and private security and these were found not to be complying with the NMW, and failure to comply with Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
“Let me just add – this is not a declaration of war on employers. Without employers, we don't have jobs. But, we do insist on certain basic standards to ensure the dignity, safety and better conditions of service of their workers.
Department of Employment and Labour Chief Director of Collective Bargaining, Thembinkosi Mkalipi said the Impimpa Hotline would provide for the use of an intelligent-driven enforcement to track troublesome sectors. The hotline, he said would also act as a tool to hold the Department accountable. He said an inspector(s) will be deployed within 14 days after a complaint has been lodged.
The key process flow of the Impimpa Hotline is that once the user dials the hotline number he or she will be requested to select the sector in which to lodge a complaint against and this will be followed by selecting the province where the employer is based. The next step will be entering the employer's address as per the system's request and the Department will respond by sending an inspector for inspection.
Mkalipi said from 12 March 2020 the Department will be publishing a dashboard on the Department's website on a weekly basis to show the status of cases reported. He said the Green colour will reflect cases resolved, Red will reflect cases not resolved and Yellow will reflect cases under investigation.
While acknowledging that the workers lodging complaints may be victimised, Mkalipi said in any intervention put in place there were risks. He said however, the Labour Relations Act protects workers against victimisation in case they were exercising their rights.
Department of Employment and Labour Director-General, Thobile Lamati said the issue of reporting non-compliance was not necessarily new as it has always been there as part of routine inspections conducted daily. Lamati said the launch of Impimpa Hotline will help reduce queues in the Labour Centres and also cut travelling costs to complainants.
To reinforce the inspectorate, Lamati said the filling of 500 occupational health and safety (OHS) inspectors promised during last year's Budget Vote was already underway at provincial level. He said the Department had over 1 500 inspectors and these could never be enough considering the 1,8 million registered employers in the Unemployment Insurance Fund's database.
The Minister concluded that the programme to promote the decent work agenda; promoting health and safety and extension of social security would be pursued with vigour. He said the Impimpa Hotline was the beginning of a new era and more measures to enforce compliance were in the pipeline.
He specifically identified the agricultural sector, hospitality and Private security for requiring special attention. Nxesi said: “we have heard about horrible things happening in these sectors. Worker rights are also human rights".
For enquiries contact:
082 697 0694
Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour
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