The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has committed R11.9 million to the Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority to fund the training of 325 Scaw Metals employees for six months.
This follows the approval of Scaw Metals’ application to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, in March, when it faced possible retrenchments owing to difficult trading conditions in the steel industry.
Scaw Metals has received the first payment of R1.99 million from the UIF, which will be used to pay the salaries of 325 workers participating in the training lay-off scheme (TLS). The UIF will pay 75% of an employee’s basic salary up to a maximum amount of R 9 358 a month.
In the previous financial year, the UIF committed R46.3 million towards the scheme and paid R8.37 million to various companies participating in TLSes.
Labour Activation Programme chief director Mpumi Mnconywa noted that 2 703 learners have been registered in the previous financial year, with some already having completed their training programmes through various sector education and training authorities.
Under the scheme, workers agree to forego their normal wage to attend the training programme and accept a training allowance during the training period. Employers gain a recovery period by reducing payroll costs for a stipulated period while improving the skills of their workers at limited cost to the company.
The UIF uses its excess funds to fund poverty alleviation schemes and, last year, allocated more than R400 million towards the schemes. The fund has signed funding agreements with 23 technical vocational education and training colleges to train 356 learners in building and civil construction at a cost of R1.8 million for each college.