Ban labour brokers, say union federations

2009-05-26 00:00

UNION federations in KwaZulu-Natal have called for the banning of labour brokers, saying they do not care about the wellbeing of workers.

Speaking during the first day of a two-day fifth session of Workers’ Parliament in the KZN Legislature yesterday, trade union congress Cosatu, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said they support the banning of labour brokers.

The union federations said Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana was correct in saying last week that “labour broking is a form of human trafficking” and the legislation to ban it should be fast-tracked.

The provincial Labour Department representative in the Workers’ Parliament session, Edward Khambule, said workers who get jobs through labour brokers do not even receive basic employment benefits, such as the unemployment insurance fund, when their employment has been terminated.

Khambule said the labour brokers do not respect the need for workers to take medical examinations in high-risk working environments and they force workers to pay for protective clothing and equipment in such areas themselves, while the legislation states clearly that companies need to buy such equipment for employees.

“There are very few labour brokers that comply with labour laws. Most of them are fly-by-night brokers who work from their cars and are not even registered with SARS [the South African Revenue Services],” said Khambule.

He issued a stern warning to workers and job seekers to be wary of fly-by-night labour brokers.

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