CapeTownMagazine.com

Why This SweepSouth CEO Thinks Workers’ Day is Still ...

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Why This SweepSouth CEO Thinks Workers’ Day is Still Important

And what can employers learn from the new trend to gig employment

1 May is Workers’ Day in South Africa – celebrated similarly around the world as May Day or Labour Day. It’s an important public holiday that touches the lives of every working citizen.

Did you know that limiting a full working day to eight hours was only institutionalised in the 1800s? That’s over 100 years after the start of the industrial revolution. And records show that the first full weekend, as we know it today, was only introduced in America in 1908 (before this, you would only have Sunday off). So, free and fair employment is actually relatively new.

And we’re already onto a new frontier. Several companies around the world are making the cut from 45 hours to a significantly shorter 32-hour work week. Also, there’s the emergence of the gig economy, where people are making a living through non-traditional, digital-based enterprises, like Uber and AirBnB.

WORKING IN THE GIG ECONOMY
In April this year, a collaboration between Oxford University and the University of Cape Town called the Fair Work Foundation released some of their initial findings on a large research project into the working conditions of people working in the gig economy in South Africa and India.

Uber drivers, freelancers that use apps like UpWork and the workers who use SA domestic cleaning services app SweepSouth are all not traditionally employed by the companies who own the apps. But they earn a living through it. Estimates are that around 2% of South Africans earn a living this way. And they don’t have standard work agreements or contracts.

So, the Fair Work Foundation looked into the working conditions of these people and, initially, found that things weren’t that great for workers – some media outlets even called it exploitation. The Oxford Internet Institute’s Dr Jamie Woodcock, however, said in an interview that one of the companies that has done the most to really accommodate and understand its “gig” workers is SweepSouth.

And that’s why we spoke to Aisha Pandor, the co-founder and CEO of the popular local cleaning services app, to get her take on the importance of Workers’ Day. And she even talks about how the movement towards shorter working hours affects domestic and blue-collar workers in South Africa.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKERS’ DAY
“Workers' Day internationally represents a celebration of labour and the working classes and their contribution to national economies. And in South Africa, it additionally recognises the role that the Communist Party and trade unions played in championing workers' rights in the struggle against apartheid. The day presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the working conditions of all workers and to mobilise to make the changes we need across every sector of the economy,” says Pandor.

MORE HOURS, LESS PAY
Pandor says that working hours aren’t black and white for domestic workers and those in similar lines of work. “Generally, permanently employed domestic workers are contracted for nine hours a day, including a lunch break. However, we found in last year's SweepSouth Report on Pay and Domestic Working Conditions for Domestic Work in South Africa that they are often expected to work overtime, sometimes without the additional remuneration they should be receiving,” says Pandor.

Unfortunately, these long working hours also mean lower wages. Pandor says that domestic workers are often underpaid, even when compared to the national minimum wage. “Last year's SweepSouth report found that this sector is significantly underpaid,” says Pandor, “we found that the average income of domestic workers polled is between R3000 and R4000 per month.”

She adds that this salary is also often meant to support families of three or more. “The report indicated that 84% of domestic workers are the sole breadwinners and 70% are single mothers supporting, on average, three dependants. It is clear that this sector needs to be protected and supported.”  

POWER OVER THE HOUR
SweepSouth seems to be working to change the industry, while embracing the future of technology to create a level playing field for domestic workers. They’re empowering domestic workers by allowing them to determine their own working hours with the SweepSouth app.  

“Our SweepStars do not always have a set time period when they need to be at work. SweepStars can choose to take a booking or not based on a number of factors, including how many hours of work it involves, and can then leave a booking once the job is completed. This is in stark contrast to the incumbent model of staying and working for a set number of hours regardless of whether the required work is finished sooner,” says Pandor.

WHO ACTUALLY BENEFITS
She says that although they’ve used technology to allow more flexible working hours, the real challenge is “ensuring that every single South African is technologically empowered to make the most of the opportunities that a digital world can offer”.

Pandor also says that working environments are a part of what Workers’ Day represents too, so what actually constitutes a decent working environment?

“Issues like fair and decent work conditions, being free from discrimination and harassment, and finding purpose and value in your work are also recognised as being vital to the work experience,” she says.

South Africa is adapting well to the digital working culture we are heading towards, but the majority of workers in South Africa cannot benefit from these advances. Workers’ Day does not only celebrate past struggles and victories, it also serves as a reminder to look at the way we work today and to always strive for a better future.

---
See when your next day off is with our list of public holidays.
Here are a bunch of free and affordable things to do this Workers Day.
Make sure you don’t miss a single experience with our ultimate Cape Town bucket list.
---
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, suburbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and add us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.

Follow and like us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterest for updates.

Cape Town Events Calendar
June 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30

teambuildingTeambuilding Activities You’ll ...

14 teambuilding activities and why they work

magic_festivalMagicians, Escapologist and Clowns. ...

Take your kids to a show that proves magic is real and taught in Cape Town!

gugulethu_7_memorialA Play Honoring the Gugulethu 7

See a uniquely presented story of the iconic Umkhonto weSizwe youths at UCT

fpl_5Get Moving in Functional Training Class

Improve your fitness, strength and overall functionality with the Functional Performance ...

ac_marriott_musicHappy Hour and Live Music Every ...

Get a discount on drinks and tapas before local musicians step up to entertain you

conrad_hicksStudio Tours Of The Artist’s Forge To ...

View for free: A new collection of hand-forged metal furniture and sculpture rippling ...

aroundaboutnew1Get a Free Stay in Scarborough With ...

Just use the promo code when booking a 4X4 and camping equipment

wine_of_exileNapoleon Loved Cape Town Wine. Find Out ...

Plus see Bonaparte’s cut-glass crystal goblets and taste the modern version of his ...

sundoo2019_4South-Indian Tapas and Thalis For a ...

Vegan options, halaal-friendly, casual but beautifully decorated: Sundoo South Indian ...

the41_music3Romantic Beach Vibe and Live Music At ...

Live Thursdays: Come in your slops to this chic Camps Bay spot for great food and live ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

sgtpepper152-for-1 Burger or Pizza Deal At Sgt ...

A reason to eat out: Get a free pizza on Tuesdays and a free burger on Thursdays at this ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

coco_safar_lunchOn The House: Try A Rooibos Cold Brew ...

Satisfy your cravings for South African flavours such as bobotie or hit the spot with ...

Barrs7Common Summer Ailments And Their ...

What most people ask about sunscreen, hay fever, runny tummy, malaria meds and ...

Rotterdam_KwetuSafariPicnic2Farm Stay Special: Free Sunset Safari ...

Idyllic Swellendam farm accommodation with a special game drive and picnic amongst the ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

house of h2 For 1 New Corona Cocktails on the ...

All-new whiskey-Corona mixes, Corona mojitos for after-work drinks during two-hour ...

Coco Safar Dinner NEW 2Indulge In Dinner and Dessert At Coco ...

And now they have added couture alcoholic cocktails to the menu at this all-day cafe

Jack Black 12Alternating Jazz and Quiz Nights at ...

Live tunes or pub quiz? Take your pick of Thursdays at the brewery taproom in Diep River

African RelishGet Hands-On With Local Fresh Produce ...

Leave it up to African Relish to create the perfect food-centred weekend getaway

Waterworld Strand Waterpark Cape TownFree Putt-Putt Special at Waterworld ...

False Bay’s finest family fun zone is offering a complimentary game of mini golf with ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.