DURBAN – The United Association of South Africa (Uasa) has said remote workers have the same rights as those who work from the office.
Trade union spokesperson Abigail Moyo said the South African job market faced severe challenges in 2021 and the country saw thousands of jobs being shed because of Covid-19 and harsh lockdowns.
Many workers feared losing their jobs or were at some point faced with changes brought about by Covid-19 in the workplace.
Moyo said throughout the year Uasa raised awareness about the importance of belonging to an able and reputable union to represent workers in the workplace.
Joining a trade union means you become part of an organised group that stands together in terms of workplace issues.
“A union offers the services of skilled negotiators and labour specialists who will work on your behalf to, for instance, secure salary increases, fair treatment, a safe working environment, increased job security, assist you at disciplinary hearings and represent you at disputes with your employer. It means that you don’t stand alone when facing difficult and complicated labour matters.”
Moyo said 2021 proved to be a tough economic year with many businesses severely affected by the new normal Covid-19 brought about.
“We saw unions stepping up to negotiate proper conditions for their members in different workplaces in terms of unreasonable salary or wage cuts proposed by companies and work conditions due to Covid-19 regulations,” Moyo said.
“As we step into 2022, workers should be ready to adjust and prepare themselves for new work conditions and regulations as proposed by the organisations they work for. Therefore, joining a union is still a clever choice. A union will negotiate and hold organisations accountable on your behalf in terms of any misunderstandings, unfair labour practices or unlawful work conditions put in place by an organisation.”
Moyo added that a fair share of workers were expected to work remote in the new year as employers try to minimise the risk of exposing employees to Covid-19. However, just because you work remote did not mean that you cannot belong to a union. There were still many things that may go wrong between an employer and an employee.
Here are six basic rights that a worker is entitled to even if they are working from home:
- Normal working hours
- Fair entitled annual leave days
- Sick and family responsibility leave days.
- Maternity leave.
- Sufficient tools for working from home, for example, laptop and internet connection.
- Full compensation for the work done.
Moyo also said that as we look forward to 2022, Uasa wishes all job seekers the very best in their search for employment.