Four experts discuss how, in the wake of the pandemic, the organisation has raised its game to help members.
At a Printing SA webinar held last month to celebrate its 110th anniversary, a package of new member benefits was launched, and panellists discussed the federation’s value to the industry.
Kenneth Leid, National Training and Development Director, Printing SA
How has Printing SA adapted to the changing landscape in its training offering?
Kenneth Leid: In March 2020, we just started our Foundational Learning Programme (FLP), with more than 80 people attending classes at our regional training centres. Then lockdown began, and we had to suspend all our face-to-face training sessions.
We launched our first eLearning course in June: the Colour Management pilot course run in collaboration with FESPA, with more than 90 attendees (20 from the UK). In August, we relaunched the FLP online, using Google Classroom.
We have adapted and can now present all our courses online. For example, our TT1 [Technical Theoretical] modules are now being presented in a dual system. Apprentices attend their generic subjects on Thursdays and their trade theory subjects on Fridays (14 sessions over a five-month period). This system successfully integrates theory, practical training and workplace experience.
Jermaine Naicker, KwaZulu-Natal Regional Chamber Manager, Printing SA
What does an industrial relations consultant do – and what are the main aspects of industrial relations?
Jermaine Naicker: If you have staff members, you are sure to have labour relations issues. The role of the labour relations consultant then becomes critical to your business. Many businesses choose to avoid their responsibilities, and it is not as simple as you think to tackle this – especially if you do not know the law well enough and don’t have much experience under your belt.
A labour relations consultant deals with labour-related and industrial issues in the workplace. Very specifically, that pertains to personnel and human resources that we deal with daily. These consultants are skilled and seasoned professionals that deal in labour-related issues day in and day out.
The labour-consulting umbrella typically covers the chairing of disciplinary enquiries, counselling, conducting investigations and evidence gathering, representations at the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration], bargaining with statutory council, arbitrations, representations at labour courts, section 189 consultations and facilitations, short-time drafting of legal documents, wage negotiations, mutual separation agreements, voluntary severance packages and so on. There would also be further detailed roles and tasks that stem from these mainstreams of labour relations.
Printing SA is probably the most renowned in the industry for its labour relations and service offering. For years, we have been providing sound service advice and expertise in this field to many businesses. We have invested a great deal of pride, time and dedication to our labour-related services, to the extent that we have broadened our skills pool of labour experts and significantly increased our range of services.
Typically, each chamber of Printing SA in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Central and North would host a labour consultant. In addition, we have a strong network of legal experts that we consult for, and on behalf of, Printing SA.
Over the years we have emphasised developing and expanding our labour relations consulting. We have also built and refined a wealthy bank of resources to provide high-quality services to meet the needs of our members.
Khanyi Ntanzi, Commercial and Technical Manager, Printing SA
Regulations and legislation seem to be changing all the time – how does Printing SA keep up with all of these changes?
Khanyi Ntanzi: Printing SA is a recognised official voice of the printing industry and a representative of a wider membership across all provinces. We are consulted by the government when it intends to regulate our sector.
Applying developed countries' policies and conditions to South Africa may have devastating effects due to our local conditions. In discussions, we try to ensure we mitigate those effects.
For example, in 2016 and in August 2020, proposed regulations labelled certain printing activities as ‘controlled emitters’. We submitted that – based on market research – such regulations would cause excessive economic impacts to the printing industry.
We also work closely with prominent recognised bodies and collaborate to come up with policy positions that are more beneficial to our members and are informed by sustainability. We regularly check online platforms where the government publishes these notices, laws and regulations, to keep our members informed and compliant.
The Protection Of Personal Information (POPI) Act is coming into effect on 1 July. Members must ensure they comply with POPI. With the extended responsibility, registrations are on 5 May and we will be continuing with these until 5 November.
My message to members is as follows: if there is something you do not understand, please engage with us and we will direct you to the correct channels. When you receive our emails or communications please respond, as your comment is important.
Abisha Katerere, Marketing Manager and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment specialist
How is Printing SA assisting its members to navigate the pandemic, given that some businesses have closed or are facing closure?
Abisha Katerere: Printing SA has worked tirelessly in the past year to ensure members were kept abreast of the new regulations that were implemented as a result of the Disaster Management Act. We offered real-time updates on the amendments and deciphered the legislation to provide members with simplified interpretations, which allowed them to get a succinct understanding of what was required to comply.
- FAQs on the regulations
- Six informative webinars, one of which included 'How to thrive during COVID-19 – print industry wellbeing takes the spotlight’.
- Our chambers have been on hand to offer free advice to members on matters needing urgent attention.
- Arranging suitable payment terms to existing and new members, depending on their circumstances.
Our new member benefits will assist some of our members to save on costs for hardware and software, business turnaround and recovery, as well as credit facilities for working capital through our partners.
Other Printing SA benefits discussed during the webinar include:
- Tailored medical cover: for members in signage, print, packaging and visual communications, in association with Agility and Health Squared.
- Productivity SA: the Competitiveness Improvement Services Programme, aimed at improving competitiveness in the South African print, packaging, signage and visual communications industry, which competes in global and domestic markets. The programme is an investment cost-sharing grant for local entities.
- ASFIN Finance: Printing SA Associate Member SASFIN provides a comprehensive range of specialist financial products and services for members, including equipment finance, foreign exchange, and guarantees and funding to these entrepreneur groups and companies.
- Members’ Portal: Members now have exclusive access to a host of online tools, from industry research, tenders and RFPs/RFQs to marketing materials and templates.
- HP, Dell and Apple product discounts
- The Virtual Safety Officer: In partnership with KBC Risk Solutions, Printing SA unveils the virtual safety officer, designed for Printing SA members who do not have the resources to manage occupational safety and health requirements themselves.
by FESPA Staff