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 THE STORY OF ZANELE MOKAPILO, AN INSPIRATION FOR ALL WORKERS

2015/08/04

THE STORY OF ZANELE MOKAPILO, AN INSPIRATION FOR ALL WORKERS

Zanele is a truly inspiring person. Although she’s the only worker of her company standing up for her rights, she keeps the struggle going. AMANDLA!

“For the last three years I’ve been working at Eskom Rotek and Roshlon as an assistant accountant through labour broker, Cozens.

From August 2012 until mid-February 2015 I didn’t have a written contract nor did I have benefits. In February of this year the labour broker offered me and the other labour broker workers in the company a 3 month contract with slightly better benefits. I signed the contract because I thought it was an improvement to my previous situation. I hadn’t heard about the new labour law at that point.

In March I went to visit my mother in Soweto. She had received a pamphlet of CWAO on the new rights for contract and labour broker workers. When I went through the pamphlet, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately sent an email to my labour broker to ask her about this new law and how it affected my situation. We exchanged emails and it was clear my labour broker wasn’t willing to help me. They refused to abide to the law.

After the initial 3 month contract was over, they offered us a 6 month contract. I refused. I knew I had the right to become permanent.

I tried to convince my co-workers not to sign either. I printed out the CWAO pamphlet and gave it to them. But they still signed. They were happy because that contract meant we would no longer be labour broker workers, but contract workers with Eskom Rotek and Roshlon. I didn’t sign. I wasn’t happy. We should’ve been made permanent workers.

One day my labour broker came in our office. She was angry and wanted to know who had been distributing the CWAO pamphlets. I didn’t say anything at that time because I didn’t want to be victimised in front of everyone.

After that incident they invited me to a meeting with the labour broker and the company. They tried to intimidate me and accused me of incitement. I was given a verbal warning. If I would continue with my actions I was going to be disciplined.

In the meantime my case was handled by the CCMA, with support of CWAO. The labour broker worker and Eskom came with a completely different story than what they told me previously. They claimed they were well aware of the new laws and were making plans to make some of the workers permanent. They said I was on the list to be absorbed in the company on the first of September as a permanent employee.

I agreed with this arrangement. But I wanted written proof that they would really do so. Thus far they have refused to give me proof. The good thing is that if they don’t make me permanent on the first of September I can go back to the CCMA.

This isn’t an easy fight. What carries me through is the support of my family, my husband and CWAO. It’s important to have that support. Bosses can be so intimidating and they will try to outtalk you. When I come to the Saturday Meetings of CWAO, I see that I’m not alone in this struggle.

Life as a contract or labour broker worker is so insecure. I don’t want it anymore. That’s why I stand up and fight.”

 Read more about this: https://www.facebook.com/CasualWorkersAdviceOffice


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