Articles

Pretoria – The Department of Labour says temporary workers must be accorded the same treatment as permanent staff.

Addressing a road show on Friday, the department’s Director of Collective Bargaining, Ian Macun, said a key aspect of the amended labour laws is that temporary and permanent employees must be treated equally, unless there is a genuine justification for them to be treated otherwise.

Macun was speaking to more than 2 000 stakeholders at the Sandton Convention Centre to create awareness of amendments to new labour laws that are now in force.

The road show is part of a national series of public engagements to inform stakeholders and the public of the main amendments and their implications.

Macun said the key message from the amendments to the labour laws is equal treatment, fair engagement in collective bargaining and elimination of unfair discrimination.

Macun said workers employed by labour brokers often do not have access to social benefits such as retirement funds. This, he said, drove the argument for their equal treatment.

He said temporary employees must be protected against unfair dismissal.  

Macun said temporary employees and trade unions may pursue

either the Temporary Employment Services (TES) or the client in cases of abuse.  

He said these protection mechanisms apply to those earning below the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) threshold of R205 433.30.  

The Department of Labour and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) kicked off the joint national educational road shows in Cape Town on 16 February 2015. 

Key labour laws that were reviewed in 2010 and are now in force include the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act (BCEA); Employment Equity Amendment Act (no 47 of 2013) assented and gazetted on 16 January 2014 and promulgated on 1 August 2014; Labour Relations Amendment Act (no 6 of 2014) assented and gazetted on 18 August 2014 (promulgation to follow) and the Employment Services Act (no 4 of 2014) assented and gazetted on 7 April 2014 (promulgation to follow). 

During the road shows, presentations focus on:

  • broad changes to the protection of employees earning up to the BCEA threshold of R205 433.30;
  • regulation of temporary employment, which is now limited to a period not exceeding three months;
  • unionisation in vulnerable sectors;
  • improving the functioning of labour market institutions such as the CCMA, bargaining and statutory councils;
  • addressing current problems in industrial disputes and dispute resolution enforcement and enhancing compliance and
  • disputes concerning discrimination and issues of pay for work of equal value. 

The review of labour laws was initiated in 2010. The bills were submitted to National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) together with a Report on Regulatory Impact Assessment.  

The Department of Labour subsequently undertook national public road shows, which were followed by Parliamentary public hearings.    

To date, the presentations on new amended labour laws have been conducted in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Kimberley.

Upcoming road shows schedule

  • 23 February at the ICC, 45 Bram Fischer Road in Durban;
  • 25 February at Sun Meropa Casino, Plot 59 Roodepoort Road, Polokwane;
  • 26 February at Umbali Lodge, Portion 44 of Cromdale farm, Nelspruit (Mbombela);
  • 2 March at Kat Leisure Osner Hotel Office Suites, Kennaway Hotel, Esplanade, East London;
  • 5 March at ETC Conference Centre Spondo Street at Struandale in Port Elizabeth;
  • 5 March at Safari Lodge Hotel & Convention Centre, 1 Donkerhoek Road, Rustenburg;
  • 6 March at the CSIR Conference Centre in Meiring Naude Road, Pretoria. - SAnews.gov.za