Govt to create own labour broker
Jean-Marie de Waal
Cape Town - Labour brokers are here to stay. What is more, the department of labour wants to involve itself by establishing a labour agency through which it can bring together workers and employers.
On Tuesday Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana presented his department's strategic plan to parliament, declaring that temporary labour services would remain.
But this year will see a series of amendments to labour legislation to clamp down on labour brokers abusing the system.
ANC MPs last year strongly decried the industry in presentations to the Portfolio Committee on Labour.
The minister said that amendments to the Labour Relations Act are expected to be tabled this year. These apply, inter alia, to Section
198 of the act, which deals with contract work.
The amendments will ensure that no distinction can be made between permanent and temporary workers in terms of remuneration and rights such as unemployment insurance.
A third party will also be prohibited from taking responsibility for any obligations on the part of the employer (the one requiring the
labour) towards a worker.
Unions are worried about the exclusion of temporary and seasonal workers from collective bargaining, to which permanent workers have legal access.
Mdladlana has repeatedly said that all workers must have the right to membership of a trade union, and therefore also to participation in collective bargaining.
The act will also be amended to provide for a state labour agency.
Mdladlana said there is a role for private sector labour brokers, as well as a state agency.
The state agency, which will fall under the department of labour, will keep a list of vacant positions as well as people with appropriate qualifications, and in this way connect employers and employees.
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