Fin24

Leaked labour report to hit govt

2011-01-17 07:04

Johannesburg - The envisaged amendments to labour legislation designed to end labour broking have been dealt a blow by the leaking of research by the government's top advisers indicating that such plans are unconstitutional and moreover violate international conventions signed by South Africa.

A research report drawn up at the request of the department of labour by Dr Paul Benjamin, a lecturer in labour law at the University of Cape Town, Professor Haroon Bhorat and Carlene van der Westhuizen from the Centre for Policy Development at Ikeys, presents damning conclusions about the proposed amendments to labour legislation published by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant in the Government Gazette in December last year.

Their 124-page report was completed last September and handed over to the Department of Labour, which is probably why Oliphant’s predecessor, Membathisi Mdladlana, did not publish the amendments.

Oliphant however published the amendments less than a month after taking over from Mdladlana.

Oliphant simply altered sentences, following the report. None of Benjamin, Bhorat and Van der Westhuizen’s objections were addressed.

The report will be a massive embarrassment at the labour portfolio committee’s first public hearing on the amendments being held in Cape Town this week. Short notice was given of these hearings when they were announced last week.

The three academics are the department of labour’s principal advisers on labour legislation.

They warned that the attempts to do away with fixed-term service contracts would result in a  portion of the 2.13 million workers in this category, about 16% of the country’s total workforce, not receiving permanent appointments.

Of these, some 500 000 have been working in temporary positions for three years or more. The report made damning pronouncements on government's plans.

The proposals would in reality result in labour broking being banned, the report states, and there was a serious danger that they would violate the Constitution on two grounds.

First, they would affect the right to freely choose a business, occupation or profession. A Namibian amendment was previously struck down on these grounds.

Second, they would narrow the definition of a worker in terms of labour law. They would not only affect the right to fair labour practices and make South Africa an offender in terms of international commitments, they would also have a seriously destabilising effect on the labour market.

What is more, they were opposed by labour and the business sector in the consultative process (on the amendments), declared the three researchers’ report.

- Sake24

For business news in Afrikaans, go to Sake24.com.

Comments
  • Rocky - 2011-01-17 07:53

    Wonder why Oliphant tried to rush the bill through??? Without taking the researchers comments into account??? Is there a big government/union get together sometime soon??? Government trying to appease the unions, in exchange for votes??

  • Harry1 - 2011-01-17 08:00

    The government is correct in trying to control labour brokers. Don't outlaw them, control them. Over many years years I have personally used labour brokers for employment for myself and later as providers of staff. Some operate ethically but there are others who exploit contract workers eg charge companies R100/hr but pay workers R50. Also some use labour brokers to siphon money off companies.

  • david - 2011-01-17 08:50

    YAA THIS THING WILL NWVER END WILL BE MORE POORER AND POORER FOREVER

  • e - 2011-01-17 09:09

    So typical of the ANC Government to even attepmt idiotic things like this new Labour Broker Legislation. I bet nobody is surprised at their stupidity anymore, in fact, it is now expected!

  • JustMe - 2011-01-17 09:14

    It's simple really. If labour brokers are taken out of the picture, the UNIONS will have control over all the employees - which would mean that they will strike as they please, demand increases as they please, etc. Very good news for the employees (in the short run) - very bad news for employers. Employees doing as they please, will result in mass terminations, which will upset the unions, who will try to hit out at employers. Employers will be forced to close their businesses on a large scale and the economy will crumble. But hey, at least the unions will make a lot of money before this happens.

  • EJL - 2011-01-17 09:15

    The fight against unemployment is being lost in the confusion of SA's labor laws. What a pity.

  • Mark - 2011-01-17 09:19

    Mission The mission of our organization is to promote Fair Labour Practices and to ensure non-discrimination and equal opportunity within all sectors. We have considerable admiration for the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and regulations passed to ensure equitable access to employment, service, contracting and other opportunities. Many individuals do not know everything they should know about fair labor practices and work in a place where labor laws are violated every day. Knowing the truth about fair labor practices will ensure that you are receiving the right compensation for the work that you do as well as the right treatment from those above you in your work place. We provide staff and tailor-made payroll solutions to the industry and speak for those agencies that conform to fair practises. All our Letters of Good Standing are valid and available on request. We adhere to governing bodies, SARS, trade unions as well as bargaining councils. Please contact our reputable agency today to make a positive change. AZ GROUP mark@azgroup.co.za

  • Chris - 2011-01-17 09:32

    I've been a contractor for the past 16 years and have used a labour broker for most part of it. I do feel ripped off sometimes as they might take anything as high as 50% of your salary, but nowadays, I've wised up and they only get away with about R40 onto off my salary. I dont want to work as a permanent person and prefer being a contractor as it gives me more oportunities in my field. I think in my field (IT) they are needed and cant be done away with at all. As for the rest, a bit of control might help.

  • dougalan - 2011-01-17 09:35

    The trade unions are filthy rich from the hundreds of millions of rands they earn from workers (Cosatu has approx 2 million associated members. Work THAT out at say R20 per month average per worker.) So the unions are trying to get ALL workers into their net to profit even more. And they don't care a sh*t that tens of thousands of people currently earning money will then lose their jobs because of companies closing due to unreasonable wage demands. Economics is economics in the final analysis.

  • THE MAN - 2011-01-17 09:41

    we said this labor thing will be dine by the end of the year...amandla

  • George - 2011-01-17 10:03

    Don't think that this 'leaked report' whooooo hooooo is going to stop a process that will continue no matter what. The one thing for sure is that the labour broking industry WILL be regulated, if not banned. This 'leak' whoooo hoooooo and the foregone conclusions it arrives at may yet prove to be the biggest embarrasment of all. A weak perception managing attempt to downplay the inevitable.

  • Mark - 2011-01-17 10:22

    Mission The mission of our organization is to promote Fair Labour Practices and to ensure non-discrimination and equal opportunity within all sectors. We have considerable admiration for the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and regulations passed to ensure equitable access to employment, service, contracting and other opportunities. Many individuals do not know everything they should know about fair labor practices and work in a place where labor laws are violated every day. Knowing the truth about fair labor practices will ensure that you are receiving the right compensation for the work that you do as well as the right treatment from those above you in your work place. We provide staff and tailor-made payroll solutions to the industry and speak for those agencies that conform to fair practises. All our Letters of Good Standing are valid and available on request. We adhere to governing bodies, SARS, trade unions as well as bargaining councils. Please contact our reputable agency today to make a positive change. AZ GROUP mark@azgroup.co.za

  • graham - 2011-01-17 11:13

    It normally takes me quite a few drinks to feel like I'm invisible ....these ANC ministers don't even need one.... they think that they can do whatever they like and nobody will notice!!

  • martin albert - 2011-01-17 11:41

    What about the big constuction/engineering contractors who have labour contracts for shutdowns who charge the client rate+% for ovetime and pay their staff normal time. It is not only labour brokers who are a problem!!!!!

  • Lloyd - 2011-01-17 12:22

    What our country needs is not more legislation. The laws are already in place and very comprehensive. What we need is these laws to be enforced (which they aren't at the moment). An outright banning of labour broking would only hurt the economy and lead to more of the needy being out of work. There is a real need for flexible work in any ecconomy. As an example, a farmer who needs to have his vines pruned can't afford to permanently hire a team of 40 people, to do this job which will take 2 weeks. There may be months between when this team would sit idle. So a labour broker will get a team together, train this team to do the job and move this team from farm to farm during the pruning season. I think we will all agree, there are some labour brokers who will exploit desperate work seekers and these need to be taken out of business, but there are others who run a legitimate operation and provide a real service to all involved. The big problem the unions have is that they can't unionize these tempory workers, and are hereby loosing income. This is what we should be addressing.

  • Scorpus - 2011-01-17 13:29

    The only reason Unions are against labour brokers, is the fact that if you work for a labour broker, you dont have to belong to a trade union. Can you imagine how much the unions stand to loose! If you control the workers in a way you can control the economy. Unions care less about workers, it is the levies they are after!

  • AJ - 2011-01-18 06:07

    Some people are under the illusion that without labour brokers, the money that the broker would hav pocketed will now go straight to the employee instead. Ha ha ha ha ha. If you think your salary will suddenly double, or go up 30% because your broker is out of the equation you are delusional. You've already shown you will work for 5 000 a month for example, without the broker you will get (surprise surprise) 5 000.

  • ES Landis - 2011-02-06 13:36

    The industry can't be reformed overnight. Change is needed... No doubt about it. I think the intent of legislation targets a portion of the labor broking sector that has no regard for employee welfare, let alone paying PAYE, UIF. Some of us don't charge an arm and a leg and provide our staff with benefits above the bare minimum required by law. I agree wi government.... Get rid of the brokers who are operating in violation of current legislation.

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