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Labour Brokers - A possible move?

A draft bill recently published in the UK prohibits an employer from treating an 'agency worker' less favourably than what it terms a 'comparable direct worker'.  If passed, this would then make it unlawful for an employer to use brokered labour on lower or lesser terms and conditions of permanent full time employees.

This is a very interesting step, as it does not seek to ban the practice of labour broking, which certainly has a place in any economy, but ensures that such an employee could not be treated as a source of cheap labour.

Could a similar step be taken in SA? Certainly, in a philosophical sense it would be attractive to government, and possibly even unions, but it does not deal with the complaint that such employees are not subject to the requirement of procedurally fair termination - at the hands of the employer using the brokered labour, which of course, is one of the attractions for the user.

Could it found a claim for unfair discrimination in pay and conditions under the equality provisions (i.e. equal pay for work of equal value) of the EEA?  It seems unlikely, unless the action were to be based on some act of unfair discrimination, but it might be an interesting avenue for exploration.

Certainly, there is nothing to prevent unions to get in and organise brokered labour - after all, this is what unions do, and then demand pay equality.  The LRA would provide a channel for this.

Either way, some action is to be expected.  As we have said, we cannot see labour broking being banned outright, despite the Minister of Labour publically and rather dramatically stating that he would be prepared to die in the attempt