Political slant to raft of labour law amendments
Changes will weaken employers and result in even more job losses
HE GOVERNMENT’S unsatisfactory service delivery record, coupled with the publicity the Nkandla scandal has caused, threatens the ANC’s prospects in the impending local government elections.
This is exacerbated by the decision of Numsa, Cosatu’s erstwhile biggest affiliate, not to support the ANC in the next elections.
Therefore, the recent signature by President Zuma of numerous frightening labour law amendments appears to be an attempt by the government at appeasing Cosatu in the hope of retaining its support at the polls.
The positive aspects of the new laws are outnumbered by provisions that will inflict the following severe damage on employers:
Fixed-term employment contracts will be illegal if the employer cannot justify them on the grounds that the work itself is genuinely limited in duration.
Employers will have to convert all unjustified fixed-term contracts to permanent contracts and give the employees the relevant benefits.
Employers will have to give some benefits to fixed-term employees that are enjoyed by their permanent colleagues.
Fixed-term employees and those employed via placement agencies
Tintention of advertising the posts.
Brokers/agencies dealing with temporary and permanent jobs will not be able to operate without a licence, and such licences could be withheld or revoked if these agencies fail to comply with statutory requirements. Local businesses are stepping up their plans for mechanisation and for moving their workplaces to our northern neighbours or to the Far East.
Overseas businesses will be more deterred than ever from investing here in labour-intensive projects. The mining and motor industries are in the frontline of this “strike” by business.
The ANC’s stated policy of creating “decent employment” will be contaminated by fast accelerating “indecent unemployment”.
The key question being asked is: Even if the ANC does not hold back on the implementation of the National Development Plan, will there be anything salvageable of our economy by the time such implementation is advanced enough to take effect?
I will go more deeply into the ramifications of these suicidal labour law amendments during my next articles.
Ivan Israelstam is chief executive of Labour Law Management Consulting. He can be contacted at 011 888 7944 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.labourlawadvice.co.za.
To buy the e-book Walking the New Labour Law Tightrope, go to www.labourlawadvice.co.za.