You don't need data, airtime or smart phone to use minimum wage hotline, says Nxesi
Pretoria - Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has launched a new hotline that would allow workers to report cases of non-compliance with the national minimum wage (NMW) without any cost to them.
The hotline, which is called Impimpa Hotline, can be accessed by utilising any cellphone.
Briefing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, Nxesi said the initiative was aimed to assist vulnerable workers such as domestic workers to report non-compliant workers at no cost to themselves.
"You don't need data, airtime or a smart phone to use the hotline," he said.
He said the hotline allows the department to monitor sectors and areas where the problems arose.
"It allows us to monitor the response time of our inspectors and we will make this public so the unions, among others, will be able to hold us to account.
"I hope I am not being presumptuous if I say that unions need to use this as an opportunity to conscientise their members and potential membership as to their basic labour rights," Nxesi added.
The minister also said the move was not a declaration of war on employers.
"Without employers, we don't have jobs. But we do insist on certain basic standards to ensure the dignity, safety and conditions of service of our workers," said Nxesi.
He used the occasion to send out a message that the mandate of his department has been expanded to include employment.
"This in no way diminishes the traditional mandate, which includes regulation of the labour market and labour relations, to promote decent work, health and safety, employment equity, social security and to carry necessary inspections and enforcement to ensure compliance with labour laws," he said.
Nxesi also said their inspections have indicated a high degree of compliance in the formalised sectors since the NMW was set at R20.76 per hour, which was introduced in January 2019.
"However, we also picked up complaints of non-compliance in regard to vulnerable workers, often in isolated employment environments."
He said since mid-2019 his department has conducted inspection blitzes in specific sectors and areas such as farming and small-scale retail.
"We found non-compliance with the NMW Act as well as a failure to enforce the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act regarding hours worked, leave and in extreme cases workers were locked in premises overnight.
"My engagement with listeners in popular phone-in programmes recently indicated that there are also problems in sections of the security industry," Nxesi said.
The minister said the inspection blitzes would continue in the sectors with vulnerable workers this year, where there would be a joint inspection with the Department of Home Affairs and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Department.
The exercise, he said, would deal with non-national illegal workers and land and tenancy problems.
Nxesi said the NMW has already improved the conditions of millions of workers and established the principle of a minimum wage upon which the country could build on.
He told the media that the NMW Commission would publish research into the overall impact of the NMW on employment, poverty and inequality.
"There will also be a review of the quantum of the NMW. Recent research from Germany indicates that their NMW has actually led to increased productivity, which is is in everyone's interest," Nxesi said.
The Impimpa Hotline number is: *134*305#