Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, NUMSA National Spokesperson, 20 February 2018
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is calling on all workers to support us as we defend the rights of temporary and contract workers at the Constitutional Court on Thursday. Last year we won a case at the Labour Appeals Court (LAC) which confirmed the rights of temporary workers.
We went to the LAC to seek clarity on the rights of contract workers, after the three month period as referred to in the LRA s198A(3)(b) kicks in. The (LAC) handed down a decision to reinforce the rights of temporary workers who are contracted by Temporary Employment Services (TES) or labour brokers. The court confirmed that contract and temporary workers become permanent employees of the main employer after 3 months, eligible for the same benefits.
Assign Services (a labour brokering company), has applied to the Constitutional court in an attempt to overturn the decision. They want the constitutional court to allow them to continue to exploit workers.
NUMSA is committed to fighting this battle. We are fed up with members of the working class suffering under this oppressive system. That is why we have consistently called for labour brokering to be banned because it forces workers into precarious employment. It does not offer any benefits, the salaries are always low and the working conditions are always terrible. Contract and temporary workers deserve the same rights as permanent workers.
We will not allow companies like Assign Service to continue with this form of modern day slavery. We will do all we can to prevent them from reversing our gains. Therefore we call on all workers to come to the Constitutional Court on Thursday to support us as we demonstrate against this abusive practice.
Date : 22 February 2018
Time : 10:00
Venue : Constitution Court 11 Kotze Street, Braamfontein
The struggle continues!
NUMSA is heading for a showdown with labour brokers!
Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, NUMSA National Spokesperson, 21 February, 2018
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is headed for a showdown with labour brokers at the Constitutional Court on Thursday. We will be in court to defend the rights of the most vulnerable workers, namely temporary and contract workers who are systematically abused by labour brokers.
NUMSA members will gather at court to demonstrate against this form of modern day slavery. Comrade Irvin Jim the General Secretary of NUMSA will lead the protests.
Labour brokering companies are notorious for exploiting workers. Those employed through labour brokers have no job security; they are paid less than permanent workers; and they often have no protection against dismissal. They are at the mercy of labour brokers.
Brief background to the case:
The Constitutional court will hear arguments on the correct interpretation to be given to the new provisions of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) which regulates labour brokering.
The purpose of the new LRA provisions is to restrict the employment of lower paid workers by labour brokers to genuine temporary employment. The definition of ‘lower paid workers’ is anyone earning less than R205 433 per year or R17000 per month.
The new LRA provisions state that where ‘lower paid workers’ are placed with a client for a period of three months or less, the labour broker is the employer. However, where lower paid workers are placed with a client for more than three months the client is now the employer.
The provisions also say that where lower paid workers are placed with a client for more than three months they must be treated the same as permanent employees who are doing the same work.
The impact of these new provisions is that anyone who has been a temporary worker for more than three months is upgraded to permanent employment on the same terms and conditions as permanent workers. Therefore a contract worker can only be in the employ of a labour broker for three months only.
Assign Services the labour brokering company is going to the Constitutional Court to fight against this definition. They claim that after three months the labour brokering firm and the client employ the temporary worker after the three month period has lapsed. In other words Assign is arguing that a temporary worker has two employers after three months.
NUMSA rejects this definition as it is clearly wrong. Labour brokers want to be able to extend their abusive practice beyond the three month period set by the law. That is why NUMSA is defending this case in court and we are joined in the case by the Casual Workers Advice Office.
We urge all workers to join us as we fight the battle against the slave traders on Thursday at the Constitutional Court. We will gather at 10:00 am.
The struggle continues!