One lost domestic worker job impacts at least 5 dependents - EFF

Fighters concerned about jobs blood bad that saw more than 100 000 female and 25 000 male domestic workers lose their jobs

EFF statement on job losses of domestic workers

5 August 2022

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) notes the job loss crisis of domestic workers as reported by SweepSouth; in the latest annual domestic worker survey. According to the latest SweepSouth survey, more than 100 000 female domestic workers and 25 000 male domestic workers, have lost their jobs since its last report in 2021.

In addition, data published from Statistics South Africa's Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Quarter 1, of 2022, shows that the hiring of domestic workers has dropped significantly during the period between January to March 2022.

Domestic workers make up an essential part of South Africa's socio-economic fabric, and the industry is highly gendered and is dominated by mainly black African women who are breadwinners of at least 5 dependents in a household. It is important to emphasise that one job lost is equal to at least 5 dependents who will not only lose bread, but will not be able to travel to school, afford basic amenities and at worst will not be able to pay for their rented backrooms in the township.

Historically, data also shows that domestic workers are often one of the first monthly household expenses to get cut during tough financial times. The last two years have been particularly challenging for domestic workers as they were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, by losing more jobs and working fewer hours than any other sector. Domestic workers lost their jobs in greater numbers and saw their hours of work reduced to a greater extent than any other workforce.

The plight of domestic workers stands central to the EFF as the space domestic workers occupy is one of South Africa's most neglected in the labour sector. For decades, domestic workers have been categorized by inequality and abuse. More often than not, domestic workers endure awful treatment from employers. Employers generally and deliberately fail to create an environment of employee and employer relationship to avoid paying legislated wages, UIF, overtime, and annual and sick leave. Yet, these very employers of domestic workers expect their employers to meet the basic conditions of employment.

The governing party has made no secret of its disdain for low-income workers hence omestic workers' wages can be equated to slavery. The Department of Labour fails to provide oversight to domestic workers, so the already sub-standard conditions of employment for domestic workers are discarded by their employers.

We call on the government to act and alleviate the pain of our mothers and sisters because domestic workers are informally employed and therefore often lack any employment benefits, which would lessen the impact felt as a result of this economic climate.

The EFF will continue to fight for the rights of domestic workers as they are an integral part of the economy. We shall continue to wear our domestic uniforms and overalls as a symbol of solidarity with the working class but also to remind the people of South Africa that this country also belongs to domestic workers, who are not just helpers in keeping homes clean and habitable but are significant players in keeping the economy viable directly and indirectly.

To all the workers who have lost their jobs, the EFF will work tirelessly to ensure that this loss in jobs is reversed through its EFF Labour Desk.

Issued by Sinawo Thambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 5 August 2022