Parliament to engage the public, labour brokers, unions and business on labour brokering
21 August 2009
Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Labour on 25 to 26 August 2009 holds a two-day public hearing on labour brokering.
Labour brokering has become one of the hotly debated labour issues in the post-apartheid South Africa. The practice arose as a result of the changing nature of work, globally. This change in the nature of work has been driven by technological advances and globalisation.
It is against this backdrop that the committee will hold public hearings to ascertain the views of the public on this issue. The hearings will look at the challenges the country faces with regard to labour brokers not necessarily operating in accordance with the Labour Relations Act and whatever interventions may be necessary.
In conducting the hearings, the committee will engage with various stakeholders including trade unions, workers, business, researchers and academics, civil society and labour brokers.
The exercise happens at a time when South Africa is experiencing a recession that is affecting the whole world. The issue has been debated in the media for sometime now and the exercise by the committee is a step towards appropriate interventions around labour brokering.
This consultation and public participation process is necessitated by the marked increase in new forms of employment that include casual workers, part-time workers and workers in subcontracted work or who are supplied by labour brokers resulting in tension between employees, labour brokers and client companies.
The key element in the debate about labour brokering in South Africa has been around disputes on who exactly is the employer in this tripartite relationship. Indeed there have been incidents in which both the company and the labour broker seem to be unclear as to who exactly is the employer during disputes with the workers.
Once the hearings are completed, the committee will deliberate and table a report in the National Assembly.