Cosatu's Matthew Parks. Picture: SUPPLIED
Cosatu's Matthew Parks. Picture: SUPPLIED

Trade union federation Cosatu has welcomed the proposed inclusion of film and television workers under the national minimum wage system and other labour protection laws.

Earlier in December employment & labour minister Thulas Nxesi gazetted a notice of his intention to include these workers under the National Minimum Wage Act, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and certain sections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act regarding annual, sick and maternity leave, severance pay and other matters.

The minister gave interested parties two months to make written representations on the proposals.

Cosatu’s parliamentary co-ordinator, Matthew Parks, said on Friday that the federation would push for film and television workers to be included under the National Minimum Wage Act in a technical amendment bill being processed by parliament.

While welcoming Nxesi’s proposals Parks said they did not go far enough as film and television workers should be included under the entire scope of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and in particular its provisions on parental and adoption leave.

“Equally they must be provided for under the Unemployment Insurance Act. Film and television work is notoriously short term. Thus mechanisms must be developed for such workers to be catered for under the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s protections,” he said.

“It is a blight upon SA that such workers and many other sectors are not covered. There is a need for a progressive review and overhaul of our labour legislation to ensure that every single worker is indeed fully covered and protected. This is becoming more critical as new economic sectors develop and the nature of employment rapidly changes.

“Particular attention must be given to ensure that so-called ‘self-employed and owner-operators’, for example Uber drivers and delivery drivers, truck drivers, sales agents, call centre operators and so on and those still falling under and exploited and abused by labour brokers and outsourced contractors are fully protected.”

Parks said Cosatu expected the relevant legislative amendments to be tabled in Nedlac by March 2020, in parliament by May 2020, passed by parliament by November 2020, signed by the president by December and to come into effect no later than  January 1 2021.

“The federation will be sitting on the necks of government and parliament to ensure that this is done and that no delays occur. Too often workers have been abused and disappointed by nonsensical and inexplicable delays in government and parliament.”