Today's Labour News

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ebrahimpatelEngineering News reports that Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has been drafting guidelines on employee ownership and other broad-based ownership schemes and intends and intends this week to publish a practice note dealing with some clarifications around community trusts and individual ownership schemes.

Additionally, the Minister and his department are creating a register of companies that have implemented employee share ownership plans (Esops). More than 150,000 SA employees are part-owners of the companies they work for through shareholdings in those firms. Patel estimates that more than R100-billion of value has been transferred to employees. The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition is also engaging with business and labour through the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NBedlac) to determine the best way forward with broad-based ownership schemes, including having worker representation at board level. Thereafter, the Minister intends to amend the Companies Act accordingly. These discussions include the rationale for worker representation on boards, the challenges that will need to be overcome and the ideal mix of mandatory and voluntary arrangements. On 30 April, Patel hosted a briefing on employee ownership structures, in light of the importance of broad-based transformation in addressing past challenges and reigniting the SA economy. Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich highlighted how the union sees benefits of Esops beyond financial gain for employees, in that these schemes reduced inequality and improved lives, while increasing overall productivity levels.

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