Employment Equity takes to the road

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As part of an ongoing national campaign to raise awareness on the importance of Employment Equity, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) - which is the implementation agent of the Presidential Growth and Development Summit (GDS) agreements - will be launching the National Road Show in July.

The Johannesburg launch on 13 July 2004 coincided with the release of the Employment Equity Commission Report, which details progress made on the implementation of employment equity in the country.

A task team comprising of GDS social partners of government, organised labour, business and community constituencies, will run the road shows, which forms part of the over-arching implementation strategy of the Summit to profile the provisions applicable to designated employers.

The six-week long joint awareness and advocacy campaign will encourage employers with 150 workers and more to submit their Employment Equity reports by the set deadline of 1 October 2004.

Between July and August 2004, members of the task team will visit seven centres countrywide to conduct joint information sessions to get buy-in from designated employers with the aim of increasing the number of reports received by at least 20%.

The Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana noted during his recent budget vote speech that "there is still a lot to be done in the area of employment equity to provide opportunities to Blacks, women and people with disabilities so that they can be equitably represented across all levels and occupations".

The recent Departmental progress report on the implementation of the Act has identified the following as some of the challenges that are key contributing factors to low levels of employment equity reporting by designated employers and the general apathy in the implementation of the provisions of the Act:

* Employers seem not to be engaging workers genuinely in employment equity matters/processes;

* Workers claim lack of understanding of the EE Act and related consultation processes;

* Unions are employing a lack-lustre participation and approach in EE matters in the workplaces.

In addition to the 20% target, the team wants to ensure that implementation is more substantive as well as procedural.

Another thrust of the campaign will be on the prioritisation of the employment of people with disabilities through the popularisation of the government's Code of Good Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities.

National Road Shows will be taking place at the following seven centres countrywide:

Johannesburg: 13 July 2004

Bloemfontein: 21 July 2004

Kimberley: 22 July 2004

Polokwane: 28 July 2004

Port Elizabeth: 4 August 2004

Durban: 11 August 2004

Cape Town: 18 August 2004

Issued by: National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac)

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