BY ORPA MATHABE
Workers under the Contract Cleaning Sector have today pleaded for government’s protection since this is contracted mostly to government departments than private sectors. This was expressed yesterday during the public hearing that was conducted by Employment Conditions Commission (ECC); a body which advises the Labour Minister of the minimum wage review in particular for “vulnerable sectors” which is regulated by the Sectorial Determination under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act
Workers have pointed out that they are mostly exploited by employers contracted to government departments which are issuing out tenders and desperately looking out for the lowest bidder even though it is at the cost of the workers.
“We are earning less that the stipulated amount and when we ask why we are told the department that contracted us is refusing to pay the employer as per the regulation requires; said one worker from Ketlareng Trading Enterprise who further indicated that they also do not have a proper pay date as wages comes on different dates even beyond 30 days time.
Contract Cleaning Sector is a sector in which employers and employees are associated on a fixed-term or fixed-project contract for the purpose of cleaning or washing by hand or machine, of furniture, windows, carpets, doors, floors, tools, machinery, under supervision at industrial and commercial premises, buildings, and flats that are let commercially or any airplanes, trucks, cars, buses, trains or any other vehicle requiring to be cleaned.
The ECC is this time taking a different turn from normal public hearings as it is coupling them with site visits to the workplaces in an attempt to get direct responses on the sizes of these companies as well as the ability of employers to carry on their businesses successfully, the cost of living plus wage differentials and inequality amongst others. The North West site visit was in Klerksdorp and Mafikeng and will continue Rustenburg today.
In terms of the current Sectoral Determination contract cleaning workers in the North West falls under Area C and the rate per hour of R15,47 ( 01/12/ 2015 – 30/11/2016: R16. 41) is applicable. The public Hearing will proceed to Limpopo province after the North West and the consultations are envisaged to end on 11 November 2016 at Umthatha in the Eastern Cape.