The Union welcomes the opportunity to make submissions towards the review of Sectoral Determination 9 as the scope of the Determination in question covers hundreds of thousands of vulnerable workers in the wholesale and retail sector. The Union notes that Sectoral Determination 9 was introduced in February 2003 and is informed by provisions of Section 54 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 as amended. The Determination had accordingly sought to address the following issues; amongst other things:
The cost of living;
The alleviation of poverty;
Wage differentials and inequality.
We believe that the determination should also seek to address national priorities including addressing the challenges of poverty and inequality. We note that the wholesale and retail sector is one of the sectors facing the challenge of the working poor due to low wages and the absence of a guaranteed minimum number of hours for part-time workers.
The Union hereby tables the following proposals for the review of Sectoral Determination 9:
Geographic Demarcation and payment of minimum wages
Discriminatory geographic area separation or variations, in payment of minimum wages, should be scrapped as such variations only serve to perpetuate income inequalities as consumer prices know no boundaries or geographic areas.
2. Minimum Wages
a) We propose a minimum wage of R 5 000-00 per month or R 25-64 per hour for hourly paid employees; for the period 1st of February 2016 to 31 January 2017,
b) Minimum wages and working conditions contained in the determination should be reviewed after a period of three years. We propose that the determination should cover the period 1st February 2016 to 31st January 2018.
c) Minimum wages should be adjusted by CPI plus 5% from the 1st of February 2017 and further adjusted by CPI plus 5% from the 1st of February 2018.
3. Minimum Actual increases
In view of recent amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act we table proposals on minimum increases in actual wages as a number of workers within the sector are not covered by collective agreements.
We propose minimum actual increases of R550-00 per month (R2,82 per hour for hourly paid employees) or the average annual CPI for 2015 plus 5% which ever works out greater from the first of February 2016;
We propose an increase of the annual CPI plus 5% for the period commencing on 1st February 2017;
We further propose an increase of annual CPI plus 5% for the period commencing 1st February 2018.
4. Hours of work
Arrangement of working time has emerged as one of the key challenges for the vast majority of workers within the sector. This arises from the need to balance the interests of employers and employees as a result of Extended Trading Hours in the main. The Code of Good Practice on Arrangement of Working Time seeks to provide information and guidelines to employers and employees concerning the arrangement of working time and the impact on the health, safety and family responsibilities of employees. Employers within the sector are generally reluctant to comply with the Code of Good Practice on arrangement of working time due to the status of Codes of Good Practice in general.
We remain convinced that ordinary hours of work stipulated in 12.(1) should be reduced to 40 hours per week without any loss of pay for full time permanent employees.
Ordinary working hours per day should be reduced to a maximum of eight (8) hours due to the negative impact of long working hours on lives of workers.
There should be a guaranteed minimum of 120 hours per month for part-time workers as defined in Section 198 of the LRA.
Principles contained in the Code of Good Practice on Arrangement of Working Time should have a binding effect on all employers within the sector to eradicate abusive practices that have since arisen
5. The ratio of full-time permanent employment to atypical forms of employment as defined in the amended Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act
a) Whilst the Union is; in principle; opposed to atypical forms of employment it acknowledges that it is a practice which should in the interim be regulated through stipulating a ratio of full-time to atypical forms of employment. We accordingly proposes; as a minimum; a ratio of three full-time permanent employees for every employee who is employed on atypical contract.
b) Workers employed in flexi-time contracts of employment; who seek fulltime permanent employment; should be converted to full time permanent employees within a period of three months of their initial date of engagement.
6. Sunday Work
a) Employees who ordinarily work on Sundays, including those who are on 40-hour contracts, should be paid at one and a half times their daily wage in line with provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act;
b) Employees who ordinarily work on Sundays should not work more than two Sundays per month to provide space for their family lives including parental responsibilities.
7. Regulation of Late shifts
Over and above compliance with principles contained in the Code of Good Practice on arrangement of Working Time we propose the following:
a) An employer should be compelled to provide and pay for safe and reliable transport for hours worked beyond 18h00.
b) An employee should not work beyond 18h00 for more than three days per week to minimize the negative social impact of such hours.
c) Pregnant employees should not be scheduled to work shifts beyond 16h00 and before 09h00.
8. Commission work
An employee who performs commission work should receive a wage that is at least equal to the applicable minimum wage that an employee is entitled to in terms of clauses that stipulate minimum wages in the determination.