UIF deals a blow
Highveld was dealt a further blow last week when the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) missed a deadline for the company’s stopgap against retrenchments.
Highveld had paid 1 300 or so workers training-layoff stipends of R40 million out of its own pocket since November, CEO Johan Burger said. The UIF was meant to cover this, but had delayed payment for so long that the deal lapsed, said Burger.
Highveld last year became the largest user of this scheme – created after the financial crisis – putting workers on training courses rather than retrenching them.
Training funds were approved and paid over by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration but, according to Burger, the UIF never came to the party with the stipends to pay the workers about R10 000 a month.
“The training-layoff agreement included a condition that UIF money has to come through by February 8, and has now lapsed,” said Burger.
However, UIF spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi said: “The UIF is in the process of transferring funds to [manufacturing and engineering training authority] Merseta to proceed with the programme.”