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South Africa – Union Demands Ban of “Slavery” Labour Broking

29 January 2013

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the largest trade union federation in the country, condemned the use of staffing services, known more commonly in South Africa as labour broking. On Monday, the federation criticised this type of employment as “slavery.”

The union was behind mass strikes last year against labour brokers. COSATU in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous region comprising the major cities Johannesburg and Pretoria, has now warned of new demonstrations next month.

It had previously demanded the government outlaw the practice of labour broking. It said it will “not accept anything less than banning of this slavery-practice.”

“We argue that labour broking is a form of atypical employment which has increased casualization of workers in the country,” the union said in a press statement. “This amounts to a form of slavery and which still happens 19 years since the dawn of democracy.”

The union criticised politicians for not taking action and announced new strikes in February. “We have noted that Parliament has not effected any means to outlaw the system of labour broking. COSATU will be continuing with massive demonstrations throughout the province starting from February 2013.”

Last year, South Africa fiercely debated the use of staffing services, following calls to amend the labour law in order to standardise the staffing market. 


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