After 21 years of democracy domestic workers of South Africa still find themselves being neglected in terms of payment. These are the lowest paid workers on the labour market, as they are being undermined by their bosses both black and white, yet the black bosses seem to be the worst employers who abuse their domestic servants.
The organiser of South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers’ Union Ms. Eunice Dladla told Asikhulume of SABC1 that, domestic workers are unfairly treated-unfairly dismissed and as a result this qualifies as unfair treatment by their bosses. When such workers request salary increase they are told this and that about sleeping in, eating in the house and abusing water and electricity and many more stories.
The worst part of it, we are told is that some of these domestic workers, are sexually harrassed by the bosses they serve. On account of their circumstances they cannot report this, or come public and speak about it. Comrade Eunice says, if sexual harrassment cases are brought forward they pass them on to the relevant structures. ‘There is one painful incident where one domestic worker became sick and was expelled with nothing except given two thousand or so Rand.
This applies also to farm workers, who are also crying deep in the wilderness without attention. According to Mr. Isaac Mampya whose Union is also catering to farm workers, he says as a Union it is hard for them to access these farm workers because of their employers who make it near impossible. Some of these farm employers deduct 10% from the salaries of their employees as they sleep in. It has been discovered that some of these farm employers prefer to hire fellow Africans, because of their cheap labour services.
These fellow Africans, as we are reliably told, that it’s just because of their desperation, they accept any money paid to them, in such circumstances when they request for salary review their bosses threaten them by reporting them to the police or deport them back to their home countries since they do not have proper documentation, and on top of that they cannot join Unions. Limpopo Province is an example of where African nationals from Zimbabwe are mostly working on farms and some from Mozambique.
‘Employers should be responsible for their employees’ emphasises Mr. Patrick Deale who is a Chief Executive Officer of Tokiso Dispute Setllements.
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