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Aviation workers struggle after TERS payments dry up

Protesting workers demand payment of Covid benefit

National Union of Metalworkers of SA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said there were employees owed payments from last year.
National Union of Metalworkers of SA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said there were employees owed payments from last year.
Image: 123RF/TRANIKOV STUDIO

An aviation industry employee whose salary was cut due to the impact the pandemic had on the industry is struggling to make ends meet following lack of payment from the department of employment and labour.

The man, who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity, was among hundreds of workers in aviation who protested in Pretoria on Wednesday and demanded the immediate payment from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

The married father, who works for Bid Air, said he now has a bad credit record and is unable to settle his bills and his family's quality of life has deteriorated. I did not get my TERS money since July this year and I have family that solely relies on me,” the man said.

Another employee from Menzies Aviation said they were last paid their UIF TERS benefits in October last year. “I’m now pinning all my hopes on this protest... I need the money so that I can be able to support my family and pay my bills.”

The workers were joined by those in the bus industry.  

They submitted a memorandum to the department, and acting UIF commissioner Mzwanele Yawa promised to respond to them as soon as possible.

National Union of Metalworkers of SA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said there were employees owed payments from last year.

“We are demanding that every cent of the money which is owed to workers to be paid immediately,” said Hlubi-Majola.

“It is a disgrace that the minister of employment and labour should continue to enjoy his salary and benefits, when workers who fall directly under this portfolio have not been paid for months because of the failure of the UIF to pay TERS regularly and efficiently,” she said.

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