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South Africa – Union slams labour brokers

12 June 2013

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has rejected arguments that job seekers should defend labour brokers because they create jobs after local media reported on a potential ban of temporary employment services.

The Free Market Foundation (FMF) and their political allies, the Democratic Alliance (DA), have all spoken out against such a proposed ban, saying it would lead to job losses of nearly one million people. Staffing firms have also warned of potential consequences, saying the labour market would be less flexible if a ban goes ahead.

This comes after the African National Congress (ANC) last week proposed a ban on labour brokers, which they claim has led to the exploitation of workers. “Nothing less than a total ban will be acceptable,” COSATU said in response.  

“It is a lie that labour brokers create jobs. Labour brokers merely act as intermediaries to access jobs that already exist. Labour brokers do not practise the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and their workers work longer hours and work on Sundays and public holidays without any compensation,” the union claimed.

It said that the stance of labour broking in the job market was getting worse after the latest Adcorp Employment Index for May 2013 suggests that labour broking is the fastest-growing sector of the South African labour market.

Cosatu added that labour brokers contribute to the “progressive de-skilling of workers, especially as a result of the short-term and irregular nature of the contracts associated with labour brokering and other forms of atypical labour. That is why COSATU calls labour brokering a modern form of slavery, equivalent to the trading of human beings as commodities.” 

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