Minister to accelerate campaign on labour brokers
5 August 2009
Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana says the exploitation of workers by labour brokers may soon be a thing of the past as plans are afoot to review the laws that regulate labour brokers. This follows a research commissioned by the Department of Labour which indicates that employees engaged through brokers are, among others, paid significantly less than those that are directly hired by employers though they perform the same work.
Reacting earlier this year to the findings of the research, Mdladlana described labour broking as "form of human trafficking (not necessarily in itself an act of human trafficking)" saying the practice was selling the labour of workers to the highest bidder.
"It is an extreme form of free market capitalism which reduces workers to commodities that can be traded for profit as if they were meat or vegetables. The agenda of labour brokers is pro-employer and anti-trade unionism. Labour brokers are anti-union because they constantly move workers around from one place to another often with no access to union officials, with no possibility of stop order deduction for union subscriptions."
Announcing his latest plans today, Mdladlana said in a statement the move was aimed at ensuring that employees hired through labour brokers enjoy the same rights and protection as any other workers.
"Our labour laws need to be re-evaluated to ascertain the extent to which they provide employees with decent work, in line with the national strategic objectives" he said.
The laws that are likely to be amended to regulate labour brokers are the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997, the Employment Equity Act of 1998 and the Labour Relations Act of 1995. The matter is currently being tabled at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) for consideration by the social partnership of government, employers and organised labour.