Cabinet approved amendments to labour legislation
Newly appointed Labour minister, Mildred Oliphant, welcomed the amendments saying labour broking and the abuse of workers associated with the practice may soon be a thing of the past
Cabinet recently approved changes to the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Employment Equity Act and the Employment Services Act of 2010.
“The amendments have their origins in the growing casualisation of work that has become a feature of the South African labour market over the past decade. Amendments to the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Employment Equity Act have, therefore, a major focus on addressing what is now commonly known as labour broking,” Oliphant said.
Proposed changes to the Acts have been met with both criticism and approval. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has continuously called for the outright ban of labour broking and previously threatened to carry out national mass strikes if the practice is not banned in 2010.
Public hearings will be held over the next few months and more debates will be held in Parliament, before any amendments are passed.
The Department of Labour (DOL), under the leadership of former minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, proposed amendments to the labour Acts, which were expected to either abolish or increase the regulation of temporary employment service providers.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour and Nedlac held discussions with stakeholders on the proposed amendments, but changes to the Acts have been delayed. While the outsourcing sector is expected to be exempt from the amendments or only be subject to certain clauses within the legislation, the DOL and Nedlac have yet to confirm what the sector can expect.
In 2010 several municipalities and various government departments publicly announced their intention to either cut back on the use of labour brokers or phase out the use of their services, signalling widespread support for the DOL amendments.
This was countered by organisations such as the Information Technology Association (ITA), Capes and Business Unity South Africa (Busa), which called on the government to increase regulation, saying labour broking contributes to the local economy.