Story-ideas-1011172

SA Organisations

Blumenthal’s LRG aims to level the Jewish playing field

  • Ivor
Jewish organisations, particularly large ones, tend to play the person, not the ball, says Dr Ivor Blumenthal, who has started the Labour Relations Gemach (gemilut chesed).
by SUZANNE BELLING | Feb 10, 2016

PHOTOGRAPH SUPPLIED

“It is free to Jewish members to join and they are not expected to pay advisory services.”

Blumenthal adds that employers, especially small ones seldom have the resources, time or inclination to implement a formal HR set of policies and procedures – a system that can withstand the scrutiny exacted from with a bargaining council or the CCMA.

“The LRG is a Jewish organisation established informally with the singular purpose of assisting Jewish employees in all matters to do with labour relations. It is an advisory body to level the playing fields between employers and employees when there is inevitably an imbalance, keep Jewish employees in their jobs for as long as possible.”

Blumenthal told the SA Jewish Report that there was a large number of practitioners within the community who were willing to give of their time to assist wherever possible and to help keep costs incurred in direct representation as low as possible.

“In matters involving Jewish employees, the LRG facilitates conciliation, mediation and, where possible, even arbitration services in the hope that from engagement can come compromise and agreement.

“I am acutely aware that sometimes Jewish employees are dealt with unfairly because there is an unspoken sense of obligation between Jewish employers and employees that, irrespective of the level of mistreatment, opportunism or abuse, nothing should be done or said.

“Equally as Jewish employees often are white and not blue collar employees, companies in general, exert an unspoken cultural expectation that they should not join trade unions, be aware of their rights or have an opportunity to be represented in the face of company action against them. It is even worse for Jewish blue collar employees employed in trade, craft and labour functions. They are subject to a similar cultural expectation and are seldom part of the closed circle created often where trade unions are indeed present. 

“I have started the gemach on the principle that all advisory services should not incur costs. They are after all simply discussions on facts and options. As a business consultant all I have to offer my community is time and experience and that's what the gemach is founded upon - time and experience.

“There are other professionals within the Jewish community who will also give of their time in a similar fashion. As matters evolve and appearances and direct representation is required, the agreement with those who give of their time to assist in the gemach is that they will work to a schedule of rates designed to compensate them for their time at the equivalent of cost rather than traditional going rates.”

It is giving back to the community, Blumenthal feels.

There are many people who do not realise they are being constructively dismissed, disadvantaged, edged out of their positions and overworked.

“They keep quiet about it because Jewish people don’t use trade unions. Conversely they have a sense of entitlement, which becomes a community issue rather an individual one.”

Jewish employers have been increasingly complying with BBBEE, social investment and corporate social investment in order to score points and the Jewish workforce has been losing out, Blumenthal says.

“Essentially we expect a great deal of pro bono work from those volunteering to assist the gemach,” he adds.

MP and labour lawyer Michael Bagraim welcomed the gemach. “This happens in the welfare sectors across the board - not just in Jewish organisations,” he said.

“There is a need for someone to advise employees of their rights in terms of labour legislation.”

Anyone wishing to join the LRG, should submit their name, surname, ID, cell number and name of employer to [email protected]

“We will ensure that your employer is informed in a diplomatic and procedurally unthreatening way, that you are a member of the LRG and that the LRG will represent you in all Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act matters to do with your employment relationship,” Blumenthal said.

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       
 

Follow us on

Newsletter