Hospitality workers protest in Cape Town demanding UIF/Ters payouts
Cape Town - A group of hospitality workers from around Cape Town staged a protest outside Parliament over non-payment of UIF/Ters and retrenchments, following what they say was the provincial Labour Department’s failure to respond to their demands.
This as Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi reiterated that the public purse was under pressure from rising unemployment.
Nxesi told the National Assembly on Tuesday that he could not “unilaterally” announce another extension of the UIF/Ters.
The protesting hospitality workers demanded that all employees who have been previously registered on the UIF/Ters list and were later deregistered due to “anomalies” be re-registered, and that they “not be made to wait for the money they legally worked for”.
They also demanded that the department continue with UIF/Ters “as the country braces itself for a possible second wave of the lockdown which will surely plunge us deeper into poverty”.
Pinky Eland said: “As employees of the employment agencies working in the hospitality sector, we have been without work or pay since April.
“The coronavirus has seen our sector being one of the hardest hit. When the government announced that all workers should be able to claim from UIF, we all did our best to follow the necessary processes, yet many of us have still not been paid.”
Anele Mehlo, from the Western Cape Casual Workers Advice Office, said hospitality workers were “tired of the blame game the department was playing with the employers”.
“The department extended the Ters while there are workers who have not received a cent since March. When we engage them we are given a run-around. We want the minister to tell us why he is relaxed about this while some companies are pocketing these funds,” he said.
“At the President Hotel there are some employees who only received R1500 retrenchment packages for five or more years; they have worked while others were manipulated by employment agencies into signing retrenchment forms under the guise of applying for UIF. While the President Hotel is retrenching workers they are employing new ones.”
President Hotel executive director Jeremy Clayton said it has paid all money received from UIF/Ters to staff, and that only seven out of 220 have not yet paid for April and June.
“The retrenchment packages at the President Hotel follow the national guidelines and have been discussed with unions and staff in six detailed consultations,” he said.