In my dealings over the years with blue-collar employees there has been the persistent theme of the outstretched hand. In my current employment I am the Compensation and Benefits Manager for a beverage company and we have several staff who require anti-retrovirals and insist on attending a clinic in Nelspruit for their care. The cost is about R1200 for 4 employees to travel there and they have historically been given the use of a car and money for toll roads and their medication. They even stayed overnight on their first trip and the company paid for their accomodation and meals. Aside from the precedent that is being set I am concerned about what happens when there are 400 employees that would like the same benefit. Some of these employees had a 2-month break in their medication regime because the company was not arranging their trip for them!
Ok, so, where is the emplowerment here?
I decided to look at this differently. Being a beverage company each site generates a large number of cans, plastic and glass bottles and, as it turns out, we can recycle these and receive money for doing so. Collect-a-can will pay the equivalent of about R700 for 1000 cans. So I am on a fact-finding mission to get all the information together and then, armed with the facts, will present to the senior management a plan to fund the antiretroviral programme internally without funds being allocated for it.
If any of you have engaged in similar programmes or can suggest other ways of funding programmes outside of the budget, I would love to hear from you!