A total of 122 strikes were recorded for the period 2016/17, director-general of the department of labour Thobile Lamati told parliament on Wednesday.
He was addressing the portfolio committee on labour on his departmental annual report on issues ranging from the overall performance of the department in the 2016/17 financial year to the progress of transformation.
He said the 122 strikes represented a 10% increase in strikes, compared to a total of 110 strike incidents recorded in 2015.
Lamati told MPs the South African labour market lost a total of 946 323 working days as a result of this, representing 4.7 percent increase in working days being lost in 2016, compared to 903 921 days lost in 2015.
From the time of the recession in 2008, the number of working days lost decreased substantially by 38% up to 2015 as a result of work stoppages.
Turning to the rate of transformation in the workplace, especially at top management level, he said: “The rate of transformation at senior management level does not respond to the transformational agenda of the country. The department is looking at proposed changes in terms of the legislative reform process.’’
Regarding the director-general (DG) review process, a process that assesses employers for compliance with employment equity, Lamati told the committee:
- “360 employers referred to court, the amount claimed from employers is R23 826 664.80 and an amount of R1 326 664.80 has already been paid
- “As an additional measure, we are planning to use section 53 of the Employment Equity Act to force designated employers to comply with the EE Act leading up to the achievement of the transformative imperatives.”
On the protection of vulnerable workers, Lamati made observations of noncompliance in the identified top six sectors, mainly wholesale and retail, agriculture, domestic, private security, construction as well as community services.
Some of the areas of noncompliance in the six sectors related to the nonpayment of minimum wages, no information on remuneration or no written particulars of employment and the nonpayment of overtime and public holidays.
He noted that over 900 employers in these sectors had since been referred to the Labour Court.