Vavi gears up for war with brokers

2010-12-22 16:01

Cape Town - Cosatu is not denouncing government's new draft labour legislation but bracing for a fight with labour brokers and employers intent on resisting regulation, trade federation leader Zwelinzima Vavi said on Wednesday.

"We know the employers are going to resist with everything they have," Vavi told Sapa, following earlier comments that 2011 would see "the mother of all battles" against labour brokers.

He said his call for a ban on broking should not be seen as a challenge to the labour department and proposed new labour legislation published for public comment last week that stops short of an outright ban.

"No, not at all. We have not said that the amendments don't adequately protect workers. We have not rejected it. We must still study the document.

"We must make sure that there are no loopholes," Vavi said.

The labour relations amendment bill recalls Section 198 of the original act, which the department said created confusion that was exploited by labour brokers.

The public employment service bill takes the matter further by banning temporary employment agencies from being the employers of the workers they recruit and place with third party companies.

Thembinkosi Mkalipi, the labour department's chief director of labour relations, said the new legislation stated clearly that the company was the primary employer and bore the normal obligations regarding wages and other conditions of employment.

He said it was "not really", as some commentators have suggested, a ban on labour broking but rather a concerted bid to regulate recruitment and placement.

"It creates a new definition of employer. The definition restricts labour brokers to placement. There is really not a difference (between broking and placement) at all. Some brokers only do placement. It is one and the same thing."

Illustrating how the bill intends to regulate the three-way relationship created by placement, he said: "The SABC (for example) can have workers from a placement agency, they cannot have the placement agency be the employer of those workers."

Vavi set out a position similar to that of the department, saying he had no objection to properly regulated temporary employment placement.

"Temporary employment will always be part of the economy. We are not fighting against employers who for their own organisational reasons need temporary labour, those on farms, in the manufacturing industry.

"Even in the unions, if somebody is on maternity leave, we need to find a replacement. So we are not opposed to placement agencies, but we are saying that is where it should end.

Changes may hamper job creation

"What we have a problem with is where somebody is in temporary employment for 20 years and we have not regulated the relationship between the worker and the person who has employed him from the boot of a car," Vavi said.

The new labour bills - four in total - are widely expected to encounter strong opposition and Mkalipi conceded that it would likely be many months before they are tabled in parliament.

Analysts have said a provision creating the presumption that any job is permanent unless the employer can motivate why it should not be, bucked international labour trends and would hamper job creation.

And the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector is reportedly ready to challenge the law all the way to the Constitutional Court.

Mkalipi said: "We don't think it is true that we are discouraging people from hiring workers. They create jobs because there is a need for labour. It is not as though people create jobs to do labour a favour."

He said the department expected the first negotiations at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) around the bills to take place on January 20.

  • Enoch - 2010-12-22 16:08

    Automate my mate!

  • MV - 2010-12-22 16:22

    Vavi is an empty can making a lot of noice. His unions are one of the main reasons for all the job losses. Get yourself a proper job mampara.

  • L.J. van As - 2010-12-22 16:24

    I don't think Vavi is speaking on behalf of those people who earn incomes as a result of labour brokers. He earns money paid by those employees. This step will force us to mechanise our businesses even more. The Japanese and Chinese are ready to sell all equipment we need and the exhange rate is very favourable to buy these mechines.

  • MaD HaTter - 2010-12-22 16:26

    Tell the workers to stop using the labour brokers if they not happy and find permanent employment . oh , oh thats right ! We have a over supply of unskilled labour and lack of skilled labour , so some work and skills transference is way not as good as no work and no experience .

  • Johnathan - 2010-12-22 16:30

    Mkalipi, I don't know if you have noticed, but jobs are not being created NOW, even before those bills have been implemented as acts! While you quibble over nonsense, Rome burns.

  • lennox - 2010-12-22 17:05

    Hiya,way to go Mr Vavi,it`ll help stop modern slavery

  • eddie - 2010-12-22 17:27

    well done Comrade Vavi,finally a law that will stop the exploitation of our black brothers.Companies like Kelly will take up to 3000rands from ur salary every month,thats exploitation.This Government is for the people.

  • Carl Muller - 2010-12-22 17:43

    Labour brokers are there to supply temporary workers. If someone is employed for longer than a year in the same job as a temp and contract worker employ them permanent. You guys complaining most probably are not contract workers. In my eyes the must make any contract work longer than 6 months illegal.

  • John - 2010-12-22 17:53

    I think that South Africa is the only country where the Unions actually CAUSE unemployment with their ridiculous thumb sucked ideas. The problem Mr. Vavi is that you have made a living from lying to your very own members and using their strength in numbers to push your own agenda. Why dont you do some research before you come up with more bone head ideas. Why MUST almost all union leaders be anti business? Ever think that business is what provides jobs and union fees ?

  • allen - 2010-12-22 17:54

    He is a political firefigther in the minority but his attachmeht to the A.N.C. makes him powerful

  • Abe Zarco - 2010-12-22 20:31

    Brokers are organisers who find opportunities and pass them on to the unemployed. Without the Brokers the queues outside the factories will get longer and chaos will result. Makes you think doesn't it. I wish the unions thought a bit about it as well instead of doing something foolish that will increase unemployment.

  • Sandra - 2010-12-22 21:01

    It is so easy to spout rubbish, safe in the knowledge that your wages will be paid into your account at the end of the month. These dudes (and some of the comments above) have so clearly never owned a business, or known what it is like to be the one responsible to make sure the money to pay the wages is there at the end of the month, or to run a business on an overdraft on which you have signed unlimited personal surety. Go out and actually create some employment Vavi, instead of living like a parasite on the employed, and then I might pay some attention to what you say. You also might benefit from visiting some of the reputable labour brokers out there (of which there are many) and getting in touch with the real world.

  • tweet - 2010-12-22 22:02

    Labour broking is a crime, these placememnt agency employees get all basic benefits like med aid,13th check and more. Whilst people who do the actual job and generating income gets a fraction of what he deserves. A year ago I thout the man was nuts and a year later I think he is firmly right. Ban labour broking.

  • George - 2010-12-23 06:25

    Labour brokers are the biggest expolitersof SA workers and the greedy swines pat as little as possible and rake as much as possible. I will never use these parasites in my company.

  • Gavin - 2010-12-23 07:27

    It all sounds good in theory. Has anyone taken the trouble to ask the millions of unskilled unemployed what they feel about labour brokers? I didn't think so. Surely it is better to get some of these unfortunate pawns off the streets and into some work. In time skills will be learnt and wages rise. No Mr Vavi, what you are proposing would result in less jobs albeit at higher wages for the working elite. Just stop to think for a second - if you were a factory owner faced with ever-spiralling labour costs plus all the disruption of strikes, militancy, destruction of property and equipment and plummetting productivity, wouldn't you consider either closing the business or purchasing labour saving plant to replace workers? Anyone with a brain will tick the right box. Doesn't sound like a recipe for successful and sustainable progress does it? No sir, your agenda is transparent and doing our country and the millions of idle a huge dis-service. But what do you care "I'm alright Jack" seems to be your motto and to hell with the rest

  • Etienne - 2010-12-23 07:31

    Never seen anyone forced to work for a labour broker. Why not apply for a permanent position if you are that clever? If the bill passes I can guarantee severe job losses will occur (I will get rid of about 40 people) as companies are created to mae products or deliver a service to exist and not to sit and drink tea with some fat union ass who will fight every initiative of manament. The funny thing is how uniins despise manament but they want to tell us how to manage!

  • Duke - 2010-12-23 08:09

    The banning of labour brokers (which is what the draft law will do) will result in decreased productivity and increased unionisation which will in turn strengthen Cosatu's hand within the tripartate allience. My reading of this issue is that Cosatu is planning a political party to rival the ANC within the next 12 years. The ANC needs to think very carefully before allowing the amendments to be passed as they may be signing away political power. The ramifications of RSA being governed by labour in the form of Cosatu are dire! Believe it or not, the political future of RSA depends on how this issue is resolved. Interesting game om chess being played.

  • Bil - 2010-12-23 08:24

    What is SA’s biggest problem? “Unemployment” What is this bill going to achieve? More unemployment. Regulation is killing our economy. FICA, FAIS, NCA, RICA, CPA etc. Mr Vavi have you ever run your own business ore employed someone yourself. Stop protecting the have’s (Those who have jobs)

  • Business Concerned - 2010-12-23 08:59

    "What we have a problem with is where somebody is in temporary employment for 20 years and we have not regulated the relationship between the worker and the person who has employed him from the boot of a car," Vavi said. Vavi, lets just face this together, your union will grow in numbers and in membership fees and become more powerful. That is the only strategy that you and your EXCO bosses are concerned about - power to yourself.

  • fordney - 2010-12-23 09:02

    mr vavi, we need action is about half decade singing the same song.kelly,capacity and transmam too many to mention really we are suffering just bcos of those brokers, you can't even open a mere account or instalement cos your contract will terminated anytime.

  • fordney - 2010-12-23 09:05

    we need action,we feeling and suffer just be cos the middle man

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-12-23 09:05

    Not everyone wants to work permanently. Some people love contracts.

  • Mosso - 2010-12-23 10:12

    @John, Are you for real??? Private sectors are owned by whites and they are the ones hiring and firing as they want. If they don't like you then they just get rid of you. Most companies in SA still want the " Yes Bass" characters. Even our black academics are sucked into modern slavery. They use our brothers and sisters to do their dirty jobs. I have seen people been given two options,,,To resign or dismiss someone", this nonsense done in just to prove a point. I'm on senior Management team and apartheid its still alive in SA private sectors.

  • Shrek - 2010-12-23 10:45

    If Vavi gets his way, we will have a lot more people selling ice lollies at traffic lights.

  • @ Mosso - 2010-12-23 12:02

    Sunshine, lets not forget the mining company owned by the Zuma's that didnit pay their employees a salary since May.

  • Rick Cooper - 2010-12-23 12:13

    They call him Vavi, Vuvuzela Vavi. Good luck to the unemployed - and good luck to employers (myself included). There are too many idiots in power in SA. The ANC and the rest of the gang in the tripartite alliance cannot run a succiesful business between them - not without abuse of power and position - and they want to tell me how to run my business. Hauw! The illogic is amazing!

  • jbz - 2010-12-23 15:39

    I dont see much of a problem here. Mr Vavi is just doing his jo. This is what he is getting paid for

  • THABO - 2010-12-23 15:41

    Mr Vavi is only doing what is to the best interest of everyone. Leave the man do his job.

  • BigAl - 2011-01-18 10:00

    If the government and the unions want to get rid of labour brokers, it will be the biggest mistake so far this year. NOW SIT BACK AND LEARN SOMETHING. Yes labour brokers can and do create cheap labour, but at least these people are getting something in wages even if very little. SO WHAT CAN BE DONE TO BETTER IT??? Lets look at the UK where temporary employment agencies (labour brokers) have run for years. For many years it was like here in SA cheap temporary labour, but not now. They offer a government-controlled fair wages with sick pay and holiday pay. You might only get a temp job, but you get money and job experience, which will be in your favor when seeking a permanent job. In some cases the company see your potentials and offer you a permanent job. Remember a company with a temporary rise in orders cannot take a chance to employ people, but if the rise in orders becomes permanent you stand a good chance of a job. The UK government put in controls and so can the SA government. So how does BigAl know all this??? Because I worked for a very big motor manufacturer in the UK running a very large department, when demands were up I often took on temp labour: which quite often become permanent. I have been thanked by many temp workers for the skills and experience they had learned. SO FIX IT DON’T DESTROY IT (that would make a change for the better)

  • pages:
  • 1