A BROADER VIEW
NEWS ANALYSIS: Is labour law reform short sighted?
The jobs crisis in SA continues unabated. But analysts suggest that focusing too narrowly on labour law may divert attention from important debates about policy and macroeconomic variables
Using the most recent amendments to the Labour Relations Act, temporary workers who found themselves out of jobs turned to the commission for conciliation, mediation & arbitration (CCMA) and the labour courts for help. They claimed they had been unfairly dismissed, explaining that the amendments to the act — requiring employers to hire temporary workers permanently after three months of employment — had led to their sacking, as companies did not want to oblige. The amendments relate to the contentious issue of labour brokers, which created friction in the ruling alliance. Cosatu had demanded that President Jacob Zuma’s administration ban labour brokers entirely. The ANC took the compromise position — requiring the permanent employment of qualifying workers after three months’ contract employment — which has been given effect in the amendments. The constitutional court will most likely have to rule on the bigger issue: what happens to labour brokers after those three months are up. T...