Govt’s handling of UIF-TERS turns Covid crisis into a disaster – Solidarity

Union says govt’s overall approach is characterised by exclusively negative actions

Government’s handling of UIF-TERS turns Covid crisis into a disaster

16 July 2020

Solidarity today revealed its concerns regarding government and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) after a study among Solidarity’s members showed a huge problem with non-payments and administration of the emergency funds.

“Approximately 7% of our members have already lost their jobs, mainly due to the lockdown, and another 19% is expecting to lose their jobs in the next few months,” said Willie Venter, Deputy General Secretary of the Metal and Engineering Industry. “However, this is only one aspect of the damage. Our study indicated that approximately 76% of our members currently receive only a partial amount or even no salary. Yet only 48% of these members’ salaries are supplemented by the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) with the majority of them only receiving payments from the UIF for one or two months. For so many of our members, this failure of duty by the government has turned the Covid crisis into a disaster,” explained Venter.

Solidarity is highly critical of government’s handling of the Covid crisis thus far and believes that government has caused irreversible damage with their decisions and approach.

“The government’s overall approach is characterised by exclusively negative actions. Everything they do is about restricting citizens and reducing economic activity, but when it comes to taking positive steps such as building medical capacity or paying out and providing relief packages during an emergency, then they are absent. The government cannot merely rely on hiding from the virus and waiting for the economic consequence of the lockdown. We need to start taking positive steps and then implement them as well. Employee’s livelihoods and lives are currently threatened by the delay in payments,” concluded Venter.

Issued by Willie Venter, Deputy General Secretary: Metal and Engineering, Solidarity, 16 July 2020