Picture: 123RF/Ponsulak Kunsub
Picture: 123RF/Ponsulak Kunsub

It is understandable that our government would need to ensure there is a regulatory environment for the gig economy (Fairwork Exposes Exploitation in Gig Economy Amid Regulatory Vacuum, April 11).

However, we are notoriously one of the worst in the world when it comes to overregulation of employers. Regulations in SA have killed literally thousands of jobs, and in our rush to ensure employers are heavily regulated and employees strictly governed we have created a gap for erstwhile employers to computerise and mechanise.

The gig economy should be grasped with both hands and encouraged. We must at least realise that we are not going to stop this type of atypical, piecemeal work. I am sure the writer of the article would agree that some work is better than no work. I am also sure she would agree that if the gig economy could soak up some of the 10-million unemployed in SA this would be a huge relief.

The labour department needs to have a careful rethink on how the labour laws and their regulations could be geared to accommodate and even encourage this atypical type of employment. The entire world has slowly been evolving away from the nine-to-five job for 40 years.

On my travels abroad I meet fellow labour lawyers in various jurisdictions who confirm that their days are filled by creating contracts of employment for those involved in atypical work situations. Some of these contracts are incredibly innovative and certainly need exploring in SA.

As we get pulled headlong into the fourth industrial revolution, the nature of work is changing so radically our laws haven’t kept up with the required structures. I went to a presentation by the department on the fourth industrial revolution and left with the feeling the officials believe it will only affect us in years to come.

The reality is we are already feeling this revolution in the lack of job creation in SA.

Michael Bagraim, MP
DA labour spokesperson