NEWS & ANALYSIS

Employers must submit UIF applications on behalf of employees – SACTWU

Union says there are many thousands of workers who are still left destitute

SACTWU requests Minister of Employment and Labour to issue directive compelling employers to submit UIF applications on behalf of their employees

9 April 2020  

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has earlier this evening written a formal letter to our Minister of Employment & Labour to issue an urgent Directive to compel employers to lodge Unemployment  (UIF) applications on behalf of their employees.

In our letter, we bring to the Minister's attention that there are many thousands of workers who are still left destitute because they are not able to file their UIF benefit applications for the COVID-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

This is because in most instances their employers have abandoned them.

We state that we are aware of many instances where, the day that the current COVID-19 Lockdown was due to commence (26 March 2020), employers merely issued blank UIF application forms to workers and directed those workers to apply for the benefit themselves.

We regard this as a serious abdication by employers of their responsibility to their employees, under the very serious and stressful conditions of a lockdown, in the poorest communities in our country.

It cannot be correct that workers are treated with such disrespect, while their employers furiously scramble for state support from the many financial relief facilities which national government has announced for business.

SACTWU calls upon the Minister to intervene decisively by issuing a further Direction under regulation 10(8) of the National Disaster Regulations to compel employers to immediately assume and execute the responsibility of filing UIF benefit applications on behalf of their employees who are losing income as a result of the lockdown.

We bring to the Minister's attention that this matter is urgent and important, in order to help thousands of workers who now find themselves in such extreme difficulties, due to no fault of their own.

Without such a directive, in our view, the goals of the COVID-19 TERS will not be achieved.

Issued by André Kriel, SACTWU, General Secretary, 9 April 2020