Thursday, August 20, 2009

If you're an employer in SA, life just got tougher

No more outsourcing, no more casual labour. Well, you can but with ropes attached. The one thing most economies can depend on is the freedom to count on casual employees required for the odd chores. All modern economies make use of them. No longer. I said yesterday that South Africa's economic recovery would be tough and slower if the ANC regime did not free up its excessively inflexible labour laws. It seems the axis intends doing the OPPOSITE, making it harder to hire/fire people. Expect to have every casual, every man, woman, and dog drag you before the CCMA for every trumped up BS they can think of. Viva.

ANC clampdown on labour broking imminent - DA. Labour Brokers and Temporary Employment Agencies need to Act fast!

The Tripartite Alliance is hell-bent on shutting down all forms of labour brokering in South Africa and the process for amending legislation kicks off this week! The proposed amendments to legislation such as the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) will affect most employers in South Africa, with the ANC's aim being to put an end to the outsourcing of staffing needs as well as to reign in the casualisation of the labour market.

While many feel that it is in fact the inflexibility of the labour legislation in South Africa itself which has driven the trend to outsource labour requirements, Cosatu and the ANC are dead set against this trend and view it as exploitation of workers, even referring to it in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee as ‘human trafficking', ‘illegal' and ‘exploitation'.

The DA does not share the extreme views of Cosatu and the ANC and believes that there are many more appropriate ways of regulating this industry without causing the job losses which will undoubtedly ensue should these legislative amendments be promulgated in the harsh way anticipated.

For example, the Department of Labour should be effectively policing the exploitation of workers by sending out many more inspectors to ensure compliance with the LRA and the BCEA, as well as the enforcement of UIF, Compensation Fund and PAYE requirements among others.

When contacted for comment, many Labour Brokers report that they have never been visited by an inspector from the Department of Labour (DoL) in the past 10 years, or at all.

If at all necessary, only minor amendments to the legislation would be required in order to clarify the responsibility of labour brokers and temporary employment agents in these matters. However it is quite clear from a number of presentations to the parliamentary portfolio committee this year that the Department of Labour has neither the capacity nor the motivation to effectively control, inspect or police this industry and the ANC is now resorting to grandstanding to impress their alliance partners.

Presentations this week to the Parliamentary committee by expert researchers in the field agree that an outright ban on labour brokering would merely drive the industry underground and they blame the lack of oversight by the Department as a primary cause of the exploitation taking place.

Case studies in farms in the Western Cape have demonstrated that the solutions lie in educating workers and brokers alike as well as some regulations of the industry, but this appears to have made no impact on the tripartite alliance. Their intentions are clear!

The DA intends submitting concrete alternative proposals to the committee and urges interested parties to make their voices heard.

We are now presented with an opportunity to expose the real weaknesses in the department, and to propose more industry friendly measures to curb exploitation, as this next week is the beginning of the process which will undoubtedly culminate in unhelpful legislative amendments if the industry and the opposition does not act fast. The DA thus calls on all stake-holders and interested and affected parties to urgently make written submissions and oral presentations to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee in an attempt to provide workable alternatives that will protect jobs and reduce unemployment.

Written comments should be emailed to the Parliamentary Labour Committee Secretary: Ms A Kakaza at by no later than 21 August 2009. Stakeholders interested in making verbal submissions are also requested to contact the Labour Committee office by no later than Friday, 21 August 2009. All correspondence should be addressed to Ms L Yengeni, Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Labour. Enquiries tel. Ms A Kakaza (021) 403-3765 or cell 083 354 4031. Public Hearings will be conducted at the National Assembly in Cape Town on Tuesday, 25 and Wednesday, 26 August 2009.

Statement issued by Andrew Louw, MP, and Ian Ollis, MP, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of labour and DA deputy shadow minister of labour.

4 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

I for one have a very successful business with tentacles in all of the various neighbouring states. I employ a skeleton staff and pay them all well. However, under normal circumstances i would want to expand, but that would mean employing an additional 20-30 staff. Unfortunately the country's labour laws and militant attitude towards employers made me put paid to that idea. I'd rather travel as light as possible in order to make it as easy as possible to skip the country when the need arises. The ANC and the alliance are committing industrial suicide through their own absolute stupidity.

Doberman said...

@ anon 5:14, I would do the same. I avoided employing people as much as possible and made sure I always followed procedure to the inth (what a pain) but it was necessary. I was pulled in more times than I care to remember by casuals we'd hire to work for a day or so, on and off, in the true sense of the word, not staff, and would get a call from some CCMA official in on the deal saying since the bloke had worked there for "months" as a a "driver" when he actually had been a labourer, we could "settle". I got nailed back in '97 for R48K by a bloke I had employed for just three months ON CONTRACT just before the current Labour Act came into being which nullified most employment contracts. Well, I wasn't to know that and he took me for a packet. R48K in '97 was a lot of money.

I learnt my lesson and was very wary after that.

Fortunately I was very good to my staff, and my black staff were very loyal and usually dealt with people like that in their way because they would understand that their jobs were affected by chancers. Business in SA is not an environment that rewards entrepreneurship.

Pensioner said...

It has been said numerous times on this blog that the anc has been taken over by the cosatu/communist alliance since Polokwane. I think that South Africa has now started on the slippery slide into full commie control.

Anonymous said...

About 13 years ago I still employed around 1000 people. I was not prepared to dance to a communist Labour Relation Act as well as lunatic union behavior. Now I employ only about 25. The business activity and methode was restructured. Result: I now employ 2.5% of people that I used to. The business however still makes around 60% of the profit
( inflation adjusted)as compared when I had 1000 souls employed.
The loosers are clearly the black semi skilled and unskilled workers. It is a tragedy that it is mainly this people that vote the ANC into power without understanding the consequences. One side effect for me : I sleep much better and am surrounded by a small team of reasonable, predictable and competent people.