Forty shop stewards from the Eastern Cape National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have been empowered after participating in a five day training programme hosted by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) which ends today.
The CDC outreach aims to equip shop stewards with important information and legislative insight relevant to the workplace. In turn the hope is that they will share the information and skills with their fellow workers in the construction, manufacturing and related industries.
The partnership forged between the CDC’s Human Capital Solutions (HCS) unit and NUM has facilitated the training of shop stewards from construction projects across the province – particularly those from projects underway within the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
According to CDC spokesperson, Ayanda Vilakazi, the low rate of worker unrest within the various construction projects underway in the Coega IDZ is proof that the training is bearing positive impacts on employer and worker relations. “The objective is to empower the shop stewards with accurate and reliable information and to inform them of the correct processes to follow in engaging with management when they have challenges,” said Vilakazi.
Vilakazi said the value the CDC derived from the pre-emptive training was lasting harmony on sites within the Coega IDZ.
Apart from covering the basic Employment Equity Act, the training included health and safety issues, workplace relations, key legislation and the historical background of NUM. Although the training is not formally accredited, the trainees receive a certificate on completion.
NUM shop steward, Thandiwe Majika, found the training to be critical in improving her knowledge on legal processes within the workplace. “I never knew that as a shop steward it is not only my role to represent the people I work with, but also to take care of the employers needs and ensure that we all keep our jobs,” said Majika.
NUM chairperson in the education sub-structure, Yanga Cele, said the training was a valuable exercise. “To lead the masses without having any training or information will be suicidal, so we thank the CDC for this opportunity. We now have a clear direction to follow,” said Cele.
Cele added that the training content was relevant and informative, and that the legislative environment training was based on familiar scenarios they often faced as workers in the construction industry.
To date Coega has, in the 2012/12 financial year, trained 6 505 people, bringing the total people trained by the CDC since inception to 25 586 people. Currently, 86% of labour providing work in the Coega IDZ has been sourced from the Nelson Mandela Bay area – particularly from communities nearest the Coega IDZ, including Wells Estate.
“The implementation of the capital expenditure programme over 2002 to 2009 led to concerted efforts to create a larger pool of people with rare vocational and artisan skills –the impact of which included changes in the curricula of FET Colleges; the operationalisation of the Coega Skills Development Centre, Coega Human Capital Solutions and also n injection of SETA funding to fast-track skills development. The Coega IDZ now up-skills 8 000 unemployable people per year and is a facilitator of rare skills development programmes,” said Vilakazi.
“The CDC is committed to and continues to create opportunities for locals in terms of employment, training and development as well as access to opportunities,” Vilakazi said.