DA warns on labour law changes

2012-07-23 16:16

Parliament - Jobs will be lost and the cost of doing business will increase if proposed changes to South Africa's employment and labour relations acts are passed in their current form, the DA said on Monday.

"If passed in their current form, the labour amendment bills will exacerbate the unemployment crisis," Democratic Alliance MP Andricus van der Westhuizen told reporters at parliament.

He was referring to the basic conditions of employment amendment bill and the labour relations amendment bill, both the subject of public hearings before parliament's labour portfolio committee on Tuesday.

His colleague, DA MP Sej Motau, said a new regulatory impact assessment (RIA) is needed before any decision ias taken on the draft legislation.

"We cannot gamble with the future of South African workers. The DA therefore calls for a new RIA to be completed to determine the effect of the current proposals on economic growth and job creation before any decision is taken on this draft legislation," he said.

Motau said South Africa "has the highest unemployment rate among developed and developing countries, with 3.2 million people between the ages of 15 and 34 currently unemployed".

He said if the bills were passed as is, they would "increase the cost of doing business, reduce South Africa's attractiveness as an investment destination and, ultimately, destroy jobs".

According to a document tabled at the media briefing, the DA opposes, among others, sections of the labour relations amendment bill that seek to limit certain contracted employment to six months.

Responding to a question on this, Motau said six months was too restrictive.

"Twelve months is held as good practice globally... and where we should be aiming."

He said the labour inspectorate would have difficulty policing a six-month cap.

According to the document, the DA also opposed section 55 of the basic conditions of employment amendment bill.

The DA said the current version gave the labour minister too much power to act unilaterally, without proper consultation or accountability, including conferring the power to determine minimum salary increases for so-called uncovered workers in certain sectors.

The DA also had a problem with sections of the same draft legislation dealing with the power of employers to object to compliance orders issued by labour inspectors, which the bill seeks to remove.

  • Tshepo Mongale - 2012-07-23 17:07

    DA like most ANC members is just power hungry. Tell me there is nothing +ve with the new bill. sometimes when u oppose everything you loose impact on your debate

      wesleywt - 2012-07-23 17:21

      No. Its pretty simple. If you make it harder to fire people and forced companies to pay them more. You will actually force companies to hire less people because 1. You can't fire an idiot, so you have to absolutely sure you don't 2. You can only hire 1 person instead of 5 because 1 person cost 5 now. You have a strange concept of what a debate is.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-07-23 17:33

      A do agree Tshepo about opposing everything - something I have said to many DA members in person. This bill however, is something which has to be opposed.

      john.loveland.9 - 2012-07-23 19:43

      @Tshepo. If you read slowly and carefully you will see that the DA is not apposed to the entire bill, but has simply highlighted sections they have a problem with, and they have given reasons for there opinions, which is more than we can say for you. Maybe they just not as narrow minded or biased as you.

      johan.maree.5036 - 2012-07-23 21:48

      If the ANC come up with one legislation that isn't bad for the country, DA won't oppose it...

      Malcolm - 2012-07-24 06:49

      Last I checked the DA was marching FOR one of the ANCs proposals that COSATU is blocking (youth employment debacle) So no you are wrong and only see what you want to see, if the DA opposes the ANC often it is because the ANC is (sadly) wrong often and no other reason...

  • David.J.Swart - 2012-07-23 17:16

    The current labour laws restrict employement. It is too difficult to dismiss an ineffecient worker. The nett result is that people restrict their staff to the bare minimum and do not grow their businesses as much as they could. This because they do not want the labour hassles that go with bigger businesses. This is fact - I personally know of a number of one man businesses who do not want to expand for exactly this reason. The law and the CCMA is biased in favour of the worker only and because of this the workers believe it is their right to have a job but also not to actually work productively. The current labour law is the reason for the high unemployment and restricts people who would be willing to work for less than the basic wage from getting work. With the high unemployent numbers many would rather work for some income instead of not working at all. .....and, doing away with labour brokers will not increase employment - it will increase unemployment. The reason businesses use labour brokers is because they do not want the labour headaches. All they will do is downscale staff if the labour brokers are no longer there. At this stage the labour unions are only looking after their members and not the whole country's work force.

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-07-23 22:01

      This is so true. I own a company and having been through several absurd, disheartening and exhausting CCMA battles to get rid of useless, lazy and downright incompetent staff we have decided that we simply won't hire any more local people ever again. We can rather outsource offshore, sorry.

      Peter - 2012-07-24 12:53

      I can confirm this. My firsthand experience as an owner/manager of a business is that right now, I only employ one additional person, but I could easily employ 2 or 3 more individuals – as in next week! But I don’t; from a strategic and risk management side I must not employ anyone until my business is substantially larger. So I work long hours and do most things myself.

  • Hermann - 2012-07-23 17:20

    Does the DA really think the ANC cares? What we need is a total collapse and only then will the masses vote with their heads and not their colour. Empty bellies make brains work.

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-07-23 21:55

      Ironically, total collapse was the goal stemming from much of Marxist theory. The idea being that you can only bring about a socialist workers utopia after the fabric of capitalist society has been completely destroyed. One has to wonder if this is not the true goal of these people, because they really do seem to be doing their best to destroy the economy and pretty much every social and civil institution that is functional.

      Klaus - 2012-07-24 05:15

      Spring is in the Air - soon

      Malcolm - 2012-07-24 06:47

      So what do you propose HermannH, that the DA just give up or keep completely quiet until after 'total collapse'? Don't you think that even if 'total collapse' is the only way it is still important for people to point out the mistakes as they happen so that once the "masses" start voting with their heads it will be obvious who to vote for? (Instead of them just picking the next dictator who did make a noise) Or would you vote for a party that sat around doing absolutely nothing while the country burned?

      denny.cray - 2012-07-25 09:41

      I sometimes think the same. The only sure thing however will be change and there is no guarantee it will be for the better. (Things can *always* get worse). My suspicion is that a collapse will lead to basket case state like Zimbabwe rather than a free market paradise.

  • bobby.pandaram - 2012-07-23 18:07

    i think that we need to see the reason for this ammendment and a good thing is that it is a proposal. One needs to ask what the motivation for that proposal is. i have seen too many companies that reduce the core labour force by replacing it with a flexible one. I know of employees that are working for over 2 years a casuals. While a case against the legilation may have justification from a labour cost point of view, it certainly does not justifying the repeated renewal of casual labour. I think a good debate must happen and one needs to measure cost against exploitation. Business will argue that labour is too rigid and expensive and on the flip side Labour will argue that if workers have a much more stable job with the required benefits and correct remuneration, then workers will have more money to spend. I have checked some Companies (WHo uses flexible labour) annual results and the biggest labour costs they incur is salaries paid out to direc tors. If 20 directors can earn more than 50% of the labour costs, then surely there is a problem. The flipside is when you hire cheap labour don't expect top talent. Catch 22 and going

      Melusi - 2012-07-23 19:42

      You are learned, your arguments are supported by valid well thought points.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-07-23 18:54

    if the unions make you strike, let them pay you the monies. they still get payed while you're on strike, so why should you not get payed?

  • Melusi - 2012-07-23 19:48

    I think its supposed to be 18 not 15 because anyone below 18 is considered as minor and entitled to government grants. Hence they are not counted as unemployed.

      bobby.pandaram - 2012-07-23 20:07

      actually the minimum age limit is 15. That is kinda contradictory of sorts. A 15 year old is old enough to work but too young to vote. ALso being 15 is below the contractual age and this means that because being employed is a legal contract where the employee agrees to provide labour and the employer agrees to pay remuneration. Therefore anyone younger than 18 must get consent before being employed. I wonder if they got consent to vote if that will be okay too.

  • aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-07-23 21:51

    Hasn't the DA worked it out yet? The ANC could care less about job creation. They are Marxists and do not really believe in capitalism or job creation despite their rhetoric. They believe that somehow the money for their socialist fantasy will somehow keep coming from an ever diminishing middle class. Of course, they know that this will ultimately lead to the complete collapse of society, but this was what their old communist masters taught them would be necessary to achieve a complete "transition" (their "second" transition). Unfortunately, after the Russian bloc collapsed, and it became glaringly obvious what a failure this ideology was, nobody remembered to tell the ANC, and they are seemingly carrying on regardless.

      Malcolm - 2012-07-24 06:55

      They probably have worked it out Aaron - the thing is what else do you propose the DA do - i.e. what should they be doing differently to show that they have worked it out? Must they just give up? Should they stop trying to do things the proper way and instead start building an army? Should they just be emigrating starting with Helen Zille? Please do tell...

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-07-24 09:01

      You make a good point, Malcolm. The most useful role of the opposition at the moment is to hold up a mirror to the ruling party's ideology and its failure. The DA actually does this admirably, although, much of their resultant policy is actually startlingly similar.

  • shawn.swiegers - 2012-07-24 08:50

    I am concerned that we are indeed making it impossible to employ people and this latest bill will be a disaster. We have a system that grants too much power to the employee. If we had more flexible labiour laws I support labour unions to be the watchdog, but with the current pro employee legislation and proposed bill we dont need any labour unions since the law over protects employees already.

  • Heinrich - 2012-07-24 16:42

    Very simply put. The current government is worried about how big someone's salary is. And the DA is pointing out you should rather with our current situation be worried about how many people is getting a salary.

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