Blitz planned on hotels and restaurants

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Categories : Travel news

The Department of Labour is reported to be considering a "blitz" on hospitality establishments this year to stamp out the illegal employment of foreign workers in hotels and restaurants.

According to media reports, Jimmy Manyi, the director-general of the Department of Labour, has said there is a disturbing trend in the hospitality industry where he believes foreigners are being employed ahead of South Africans.

One report accused the hospitality industry of flouting labour laws by employing foreign workers as a way to circumvent legislation.

"These foreign workers are enduring abusive practices that they do not report because they do not have work permits. Virtually every restaurant in town has employed a foreigner, he said."

The report did not specify what the "abusive practices" were, but quoted Brett Dungan, CEO of Fedhasa, as saying he had no doubt there were instances where foreign workers were preferred to South Africans.

Industry insiders will question the timing of the proposed "blitz", in view of preparations for the Fifa World Cup. There is a view that the Department of Labour would do better devoting its attention to work problems within government departments and parastatals, such as SAA, ACSA, Eskom and Sentech, where it is understood there are many vacancies for skilled staff who cannot find work in the hospitality industry.

From time to time in the past few years Hotel & Restaurant has reported on similar Department of Labour actions and threats, but it appears that the "problem of foreign staff" is not as widespread in the hospitality industry as it is in the construction industry, for example.

It is understood that most of these blitzes have discovered that most employers comply with most legislation most of the time. Contraventions are usually the result of oversight or errors of judgement and are corrected when they are uncovered by Department of Labour inspectors.

Hotel & Restaurant is not aware of any evidence that the major employers in the hospitality industry do not comply with the letter and spirit of applicable labour legislation.

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