Garden and Landscaping Services Sector calls for strict monitoring and surveillance of breaches of law during the department of labour public hearings

BY SUPPLIED - OCTOBER 8, 2014

The national public hearings to conduct an investigation into the Garden and Landscaping services seeks to formalize the sector and keep at bay the role of fly-by-night establishments that taint the image of the industry.

Garden and Landscaping services sector establishments supported the efforts of the Department to formalize and extend the protection of vulnerable workers. The industry has called on the Department of Labour to step up policing of the sector. 

Department of Labour Assistant Director: Employment Standards, Nkululeko Ngwenya addressing one of the national public hearings in Durban today said it was the duty of the department's inspectorate to monitor the implementation of the law. 

The department is conducting an investigation into the Garden and Landscaping services sector with a view to introduce sectoral determination that regulates minimum wages. The hearings also seeks to formalize the sector.

The Department of Labour has embarked on a process with a view to extend sectoral determination (SD), which prescribes minimum wages and conditions of employment for this sector. The idea is to also determine which employees are to be covered by the proposed sectoral determination. 

Ngwenya said the industry’s new SD could be expected to be implemented by the middle of next year once the Employment Conditions Commission has completed its work and made recommendations. 

Sectoral Determination entails aspects that deal with the protection of workers in vulnerable sectors/areas of work. The determination sets minimum working hours, minimum wages, number of leave days and termination rules.

The investigation, conducted through public hearings, will seek to elicit inputs on variables to be considered when setting minimum wages, at what level  should the minimum wage be pegged? And period of applicability of wages. 

The Garden and Landscaping services sector includes activities such as digging, raking, mowing, spreading, mixing, watering, trimming hedges, weeding, felling or removing of trees or other vegetation or planting under supervision. 

The Garden and Landscaping services sector has no sectoral determination. Currently most of employers in sector complies with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The sector also does not have a Bargaining council or forum. 

The industry in the province are in favour of a three-year wage regime  starting with a minimum wage of R2500-00, and on review subjected to a consumer price index plus one consideration. 

The Garden and Landscaping services sector public hearings started on 3-September-2014 in Klerksdorp, North West and Pretoria North in Gauteng. 

Tomorrow (October 9) the hearings will continue at Protea Hotel Empangeni, and on Friday (October 10) at the Department of Labour's offices in 29 Scott street, Newcastle. There will also be hearings this week in Limpopo tomorrow and on Friday.

The public hearings will next week shift to Mpumalanga, where they will conclude on October 17 at the department's provincial offices in Witbank/eMalahleni. 

 

Picture courtesy of www.rainbowskills.co.za