Message from Mark Mfikoe, ECA(SA) National Director

We went to bed on 23 March 2020 knowing that we had three days to join a collective response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a collective fight in which we have to look at and treat fellow human beings with empathy, care and a recognition that if only some of us put an effort to be safe and others amongst us don’t do it, then the efforts of those who try to do well are doomed to fail. Hence my emphasis that it is a collective effort.

To our members our first emphasis is STAY SAFE. This applies to you whether you are at home or you are at a workplace as an essential service. To those who are not working, please listen to Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Minister of Health, as he effectively delivers the WHO action plans. Stay home, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and practise good hygiene when coughing are all directives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and we must simply follow these. We do so not because Government said so but because it is our duty to humanity.

Those of us who work in essential services, let’s make sure that it is an essential service and not act dishonestly. Misrepresenting our services as essential services when they are not and fraudulently getting a certificate is an offence. Those who do have the certificate and can issue permits, please ensure that these permits are not abused by either your employees or even your clients who want a not so critical plug fixed or bulb changed.

It is essential that the employees who are assigned work during this time are provided with Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE). It is not business as usual. There must be good information shared with the employees, their knowledge must be tested and confirmed and their attitude towards their safety and the safety of others must be enhanced.

The ECA has shared all the information we could on Covid-19 with members using our website, email, Facebook as well as sms notifications. Please read these and ask the questions you need to ask and we will respond. When you have questions, please ask the ECA’s Regional Directors and, if they cannot answer you immediately, they will help by finding the information from the collective knowledge we have within the association.

Please be on the lookout for the circulars we will continue to issue. We have managed to secure an arrangement in which you will not have to pay anything towards the retirement funds during the lockdown. We have an agreement in principle that you will not have to pay towards risk benefits. We are just tying the loose ends and there’s a 95% chance that you will not have to contribute towards risk. We are just looking to finalise the source of funds in Regions A and B and Region C. Region D has already identified and confirmed the source of funding this liability. No Sick Benefit Fund contributions are payable during the lockdown but the SBF too has got no liability.

We are in the process of concluding an agreement with the UIF to use council to pay UIF benefits to the industry. In anticipation of this Memorandum of Agreement being signed with the UIF, the Bargaining Council requires specific information this week. Please read the article by Stephen Khola, ECA(SA) National Labour and HR Director here.

Please provide the required information so that we can help people access this disaster relief mechanism.

Let’s all be safe. Remember the ECA is here to support you. We may not be in our physical offices, but we render all the practical services, irrespective.

Good luck and take care.   

Issued by Mark Mfikoe, National Director, ECA(SA)

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