Cosatu has urged the Department of Employment and Labour to move with speed to ensure employers across all sectors have complied with the Employment Equity Amendment Act.
The amendment Act, which was signed into law in April, seeks to ensure businesses employing 50 people or more set targets to address racial and disability bias in employment.
It will empower the Minister of Employment and Labour to regulate sector employment targets.
This would be after consultation with sector stakeholders and advice of the Employment Equity Commission.
Companies doing business with the state will be issued with compliance certificates.
Those that employ less than 50 will be exempted with certain administrative processes but will still be expected to eliminate all forms of unfair discrimination in employment policies and practices.
The amendment has since its enactment come under criticism with DA and Solidarity calling it a ‘Race Quotas Act’ and threatening to take it to court.
Cosatus’ acting national spokesperson Matthew Parks said the labour federation welcomed the coming into effect of the amendment Act.
“The Employment Equity Amendment Act provides badly needed interventions to strengthen government’s ability to hold employers accountable for their role and failures to adhere to the Employment Equity Act,” Parks said.
He noted that the amendment Act empowered the Minister to issue compliance certificates to employers in good standing with the new legislation and to require such certificates for companies applying for government contracts.
“This provision in particular is a welcome step forward requiring employers doing business with the state to be in compliance with labour laws and acting in a way that supports good labour practices.
“Workers’ hard-earned taxes should not be used to reward abusive employers.”
Parks said the Department of Employment and Labour should move with speed to ensure employers across all sectors comply with the long over-due provisions.
“Organised business must do its bit to ensure employers are aware of these new requirements. Cosatu will, working with its Affiliates, endeavour to empower shop stewards and workers on this progressive Amendment Act,” he said.
“We urge right-wing organisations who thrive on hate-mongering and stoking the fears of ordinary White, Coloured and Indian workers to resist the temptation to do so for once.
“Our journey from a painful past of apartheid and institutionalized racism where African, coloured and Indian South Africans were denied their fundamental rights is still felt.”
Parks also said the recent employment equity report showing that over 62% of senior management posts were held by white people, needed to be a wake-up call.
“Employment equity accommodates all South Africans irrespective of race, gender and disability.
“It simply compels employers to make progress to ensure their workplaces reflect our diversity,” Parks said.