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by Gerhard Papenfus, CE of NEASA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON ALL NEWSWIRES

PRESS RELEASE: NEASA RESPONDS TO NUMSA’S BASELESS ATTACK

12 April 2020

The National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) has lashed out at NEASA in response to factual statements made by NEASA, emanating from certain demands NUMSA has made to employers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The statements made by NEASA were all based in law and aimed at clearing up the legal position, which was entirely misrepresented by NUMSA.

The lockdown was not implemented due to the fault of either the employer or the employee but is a necessary measure enforced by government. The result hereof is that the contract of employment between the employer and employee has been suspended for the duration of the lockdown and, just like the employee is not obligated to tender services, the employer is not obligated to pay the employee who cannot tender his services.

NEASA has encouraged and assisted its members to make use of the TERS-funding scheme in order to assist employees during this time. However, there is, yet again, no obligation on an employer to top up the shortfall between the TERS-funding and an employee’s salary.

Whether employers will or will not pay employees during the lockdown, depends entirely on the employer’s financial position. In making this decision, the employer not only needs to consider his/her current financial position, but also needs to build into the equation the uncertainty regarding the length of the lockdown and the predicted very slow economic recovery once the lockdown is lifted.

Although some businesses may be able to pay salaries in full during the lockdown, this is not the case in respect of the vast majority of them. Many may not even be able to open their doors once this unprecedented situation is over.

NUMSA clearly cannot comprehend this, or if they can, they do not care. Although one can forgive them for their economic illiteracy, they need to be held accountable for their irresponsible demands on business and their influence in this regard on employees.

The Covid-19 pandemic requires solidarity and a united front, but this burden can also not simply be shifted to employers.

In all of this, one thing rings true: If there are no employers, there is no employment.

This is a press release by Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).

For more information:
NEASA Media Department
Marietha Thirion
marietha@neasa.co.za

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