SA `heading for trouble` over jobs

Labour movement in South Africa keeps pulling towards the dismissal of labour brokers. This will put more power into the hands of the labour force itself and most likely just create more chaos and less productivity. Here is an article from east coast radio that gives and insight into the midset of regulators. read and decide for yourself…

SA ‘heading for trouble’ over jobs

06 August 2012 – 11:43
By Sapa

The Judge President of the Labour Court believes if our labour laws aren’t re-evaluated, South Africa’s heading for trouble.

Dunstan Mlambo has told a recent labour law conference that he believes our country takes the first prize for being the most unequal society in the world.

Mlambo says many companies in South Africa use labour brokers to circumvent labour laws.

“Research commissioned by the department of labour… demonstrates that there has been an exponential increase in the use of labour broking. This has deprived many employees of labour law protection.”

Mlambo said the country’s laws needed to be evaluated to assess if they provide employees with “decent work”.

“Labour broking fills the pocket of labour brokers at the expense of the employee, while the client gets the fruit of the employee’s labour, leaving the employee with no protection.

Mlambo said much more needed to be done to rectify the situation.

“Allowing labour brokers to continue to place workers in terrible and uncertain working conditions on the contention that ‘half-a-loaf is better than none’ will only serve to alienate the working class and harden the attitudes of unions with labour broking.

“Yes, we need employment. But we also need decent work. In that way, at least the individual has dignity and spirit, and [it] gives him or her a sense of pride in being able to do an honest day’s work at decent pay.”

He said the term “labour broker” was synonymous with ” bakkie brigades” who picked workers off the street to work for clients.

“If a labour broker who engaged workers for a client failed to pay them, the employees have no recourse against the client, because the client is not their employer,” Mlambo said.

There is no mechanism available for employees to [then] recover their wages. More importantly, the client cannot be sued directly in the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] or in the Labour Court.

He said it was no wonder that the topic of labour broking had become a “hot potato”.

Mlambo says big business also needs to help find a way to adequately protect workers.

“Government already has a huge social welfare bill, and cannot on its own create jobs. It is in the long term interest of companies to accommodate young, skilled employees entering the job market – especially from the townships. Otherwise, we may face yet another revolt from the youth, that may lead to the kind of instability of the kind manifested by the Arab Spring revolt,” he said.

“Let us remember that in times [like this]… business cannot go on as usual, [or else] we will all suffer.”

Mlambo said there needed to be a greater focus on educating workers.

“The Constitution protects the rights of everyone to basic education. But given the dismal situation at schools, the poor infrastructure, inadequate learning materials and a dire shortage of skilled teachers capable of teaching mathematics and science, the future looks bleak.

“They [workers] will remain hewers of wood and drawers of water. As was the lot of their parents under Bantu education.”

Meanwhile, Cosatu’s parliamentary representative conceded last week that the union federation has lost its long-running battle with government over the banning of labour brokers.

SA `heading for trouble` over jobs – Newswatch – East Coast Radio.

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