Aviation, bus sector workers want UIF to pay outstanding Ters benefits
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Pretoria - Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in the aviation and bus passenger sector want the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to pay all outstanding Temporary Employer Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits.
During a march to the UIF offices in Pretoria yesterday, the union said its members in various companies had endured extreme suffering.
Union spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said thousands of workers and their families have had to endure the lockdown without getting regular payments.
Hlubi-Majola said the UIF was seemingly unable or unwilling to resolve the crisis. “It is a disgrace that the Minister for Employment and Labour (Thulas Nxesi) should continue to enjoy his salary and benefits when workers who fall directly under this portfolio have not been paid for months.”
In the aviation sector, this affected companies like Air Chefs, where employees last received payment on October 15 last year. Only 218 of the 1 200 workers received their money from October 16 last year until early in March.
In the bus passenger sector, companies like Langalebalele Bus Company only received one payment in April and is owed six months worth payments, while Putco has outstanding payments for October 15 last year.
There are cleaning companies that are affected, like Musenga Investment, a cleaning company contracted to the Airports Company South Africa, and Thunchu Cleaning Services that both last received payments in October last year.
Hlubi-Majola said this was money that belonged to workers, and it is owed to them.
“Workers contributed towards these funds so that during such an emergency, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, they can get relief.
“Some of these funds were looted by employees of the UIF, but the consequences of these actions are felt only by workers and their families. We demand that every cent of money which is owed to workers is paid immediately.”
Delivering a memorandum, marchers said they wanted every cent owed to workers to be paid immediately.
They also demanded that the UIF commit to paying all outstanding money within seven days, and it must be fast-tracked for the sake of workers who are suffering without any support.
They also demanded a detailed account of what action has been taken against officials who have been suspended for corruption in relation to the alleged looting of funds. They demanded dismissals and criminal charges against those who are found guilty of corruption.
The union said it expected a written response to the demands by close of business today, and failure to respond would prompt it to return and stage a sit-in.
The memorandum was received by an official of the UIF, who assured the protesters he would make sure it reached the relevant office.