Black artisans are trained but with no upward mobility

Numsa members benefit from a variety of training solutions that are available to help resolve critical employee-related issues in the workplace.
Zwiitwaho Raidani interviews Numsa national skills coordinator Malebo Mogopodi about the training and development of the members.
Zwiitwaho Raidani: How do you ensure that requirements for the skills development levies Act for the National skills development strategy (NSDS) III have been implemented? How many Numsa companies qualified for the mandatory grant equal to 40% of the skills levy and also 10% of Pivotal grant?
Malebo Mogopodi: When any new piece of legislation is passed or comments are sought, we communicate that to all members of staff and all regions so that we are all kept abreast in terms of developments in the skills development arena.
We call on comments from everyone. Unfortunately we sometimes do not get any feedback. Where there is response; it is quite minimal and from almost the same individual which is less than 10 comrades across the entire national union. We then end up having to carry the responsibility of making comments and submission on our own.
We wish that regions can help in setting up Plant training committees, Local training committees and Regional training committees that will report and account to constitutional structures at the relevant level. In this manner we can ensure that training remains a part of organizational activities and the Training Reps account and give reports to constitutional structures.
Lastly, it should be borne in mind that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that members benefit from skills development strategy.
Zwiitwaho Raidani: You once said you would make sure there’s no corruption or exploitation of the system for profit making. Any comment regarding this?
Malebo Mogopodi: Setting up of Plant training committee and when we had Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Training Report (ATR) road shows in June across the regions, we were trying to empower regions and shopstewards to be able to contend with the challenges of skills development and be able to monitor training in the workplace.
Capacitating Plant shopstewards and training committees will ensure that they are able to monitor any discrepancies and any abuse of the system.
Zwiitwaho Mogopodi: Have you met your objectives such as including contractual or casual employees in the training?
Malebo Mogopodi: Not yet but we are getting there. With Numsa being able to apply for Discretionary grants and the National skills fund, we will be able to assist our members who wish to pursue their developments including contractual or casual workers.
With strong Plant training committees; our members will be empowered to know that it is right that every worker attends training and it remains our responsibility as a union to ensure that every worker enjoys this right, including contract workers or workers employed by labour brokers. We owe this to members.
We appeal to the national union to compile data of members employed by labour brokers in order to ensure that labour brokers gets into a Service level Agreement with the employer to include those members in the WSP.
Zwiitwaho Raidani: What happens to the forfeited grant due to failure of employers to comply with the WSP and ATR?
Malebo Mogopodi: Monies that were not claimed or forfeited are channeled to the Discretionary grants. A funding window will be opened in October 2013 for those companies who did not apply or forfeited.
It then becomes important that we set up Plant training committees and empower them to engage on these issues.
Zwiitwaho Raidani: Are all the reports submitted on time, so far?
Malebo Mogopodi: We do not receive any reports and not sure if reports are tabled at Regional Executive Committees.
Zwiitwaho Raidani:Do we have many women who contribute in the Pivotal roll?
Malebo Mogopodi: Every WSP and ATR has information on the number of women trained but we cannot say how many Numsa members are.
Zwiitwaho Raidani:How can we as national union ensure training of women in our sectors?
Malebo Mogopodi: Is there any progress in training more black artisans?
Whilst there can be more black artisans, there is no upward mobility.
Zwiitwaho Raidani: Have you designed any tools to measure the effectiveness of training?
Malebo Mogopodi: Merseta has a Tracer study, which measures the impact of training.
Zwiitwaho Raidani: What is the challenge so far in pursuing this project?
Malebo Mogopodi: The major challenge with training and all other training projects within Numsa is that Skills training unit is manned by one individual, the National skills training coordinator, with no support from anywhere else. There are less than 10 comrades in the regions that normally assist in the co-ordination of training across all regions.
It is impossible to assist in the implementation of skills development when there is sometimes no support from the regions even in terms of furnishing the required information.
Whilst we have pieces of progressive legislations governing skills development, it is going to be difficult for our members to enjoy the benefits if they are not empowered and if not supported by the entire national union.
One major challenge is that skills development is removed from organizational activities and service delivery for members.
It is important to fight for wages for members, but wages is also not about rands and cents, but also about skills development for upward mobility and opportunities for promotion.
Making skills and development work
• National congress resolved to have regional training committees.

• Organising, campaigns and collective bargaining (OCCB) provides direction to the bargaining cycle in skills-related issues.
• Plans are in place to pilot women in Engineering to do critical skills through gender structure.
• Shopsteward council should report on progress in each plant.
• Regions should report back to all members on Skills development national meetings.
• SETA had granted a resolution in December 2012. Numsa departments should take advantage of this opportune legislation and implement training committees
• Numsa should always rally for the skills development in the workplace.