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The Road Accident Fund doesn’t give a damn about workers!

15 September 2017, Posted in Press Releases

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is concerned about the safety of workers at the Johannesburg branch of the Road Accident Fund.

The RAF offices at Marble Towers in Johannesburg have been without power for the last two weeks and this has resulted in a drastic deterioration of working conditions at the organization.

The building has no windows and operates strictly with an air conditioner. The lack of electricity means that our members are forced to work in an extremely hot and stuffy environment. They have to climb 29 flights of stairs because only one elevator is operating, which poses a safety risk. On Wednesday eight workers fainted because of the extreme heat. On the same day a pregnant woman was traumatized because she was stuck in a dark elevator for hours before she and others were rescued.

There is no water and no sanitation in the building which creates a health risk. As a result a foul odour hangs permanently in the air because the toilets are not working. Only one floor has electricity and this has resulted in a situation where over 200 employees who usually work on four floors, are now squeezed onto one floor to do their work. This has created a chaotic situation as there are not enough work stations and computers for everyone to work on and so eleven people are forced to share one computer!

We have tried engaging RAF management but they have shown that they do not give a damn about workers. They have responded with absolute disdain and are refusing to say how and when the problems with the building will be resolved. Instead, they behave like slave owners, forcing our members to work even though the conditions are clearly unfit for human habitation.

The only thing that the management at RAF care about is that all employees must complete their daily stats for the day. They refuse to release workers so that the problems can be fixed and the workspace can be deemed safe. Furthermore they have given no explanations for the cause of the problem and the regional manager at RAF is not communicating at all with employees or the union about how this situation will be resolved.

Instead, workers are threatened with the loss of their bonuses if they do not meet their daily quota of work. RAF management are treating workers like animals and their conduct is shameful!

NUMSA will be referring a dispute to CCMA over this matter and one of the demands that we have made is that disciplinary action must be taken against the senior  managers responsible. They must be charged with misconduct for deliberately flouting Health and Safety regulations by exposing workers to an unsafe working environment. Should any worker be injured as a result of their negligence, RAF management will be liable. Furthermore we have lodged a complaint with the Department of Labour for them to deploy investigators to investigate the shocking working conditions there.

If this situation is not resolved soon our members reserve the right to stay home until the organization rectifies this situation. We want to assure our members and their families that we are doing everything we can to ensure that they work in a dignified environment. We will not rest until RAF management has been held accountable for their blatant disregard for the welfare of workers.

Aluta continua!
The Struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi
NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)
0833767725