The Labour Relations Act (LRA), Act 66 of 1995 http://bit.ly/1EpCKjj serves to promote economic development, social justice, labour peace and democracy in the workplace. There are other various labour statutory provisions, however the LRA and its’ amendments are the subject matter of this write-up.
Temporary employment contracts and services are highly controversial issues, in South Africa there have been calls to do away with this form of ‘employment’ by trade unions, amongst others however reports indicate that most employers, and foreign investors prefer this method over ‘traditional’ employment for various commercial reasons. http://bit.ly/1EQaDdI
In 2012, the Department of labour released this statement with regard to the TES phenomenon and the prompt for amendments on the LRA:
“In order to avoid exploitation of workers and ensure decent work for all workers as well as to protect the employment relationship, introduce laws to regulate contract work, subcontracting and out- sourcing, address the problem of labour broking and prohibit certain abusive practices. Provisions will be introduced to facilitate unionisation of workers and conclusion of sectoral collective agreements to cover vulnerable workers in these different legal relationships and ensure the right to permanent employment for affected workers.”
Amendments to the LRA and the BCEA therefore have a major focus on addressing what is now commonly referred to as the phenomenon of labour broking.
Additional amendments have been effected to these acts to achieve the following:
- To bring them in line with labour law developments;
- To improve the functioning of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and;
- To fulfill our obligations as a member state of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Labour rights, which mostly involve workers’ interests, versus the interests of the employer are often pinned up against other another this is common cause, however the Constitution protects against any constitutional infringements it further affords citizens with trade, occupation and labour relations rights, s 22 and s 23 respectively http://bit.ly/1tpHH2oo . In addition to the Constitution, South Africa is also bound by the ILO’s (as mentioned above) regulations and standards, it then should give employers a sense of security to know that their interests are actually protected.
The question of whether or not TES is actually beneficial for South Africa’s economy, is currently moot. However, the good news is that there is legislation to protect the rights and interests of (often disadvantaged) employees.