Sunday Tribune

Cosatu wants to control workers through ban

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COSATU’S calls to ban the labour outsourcin­g industry is devoid of objective analysis and research.

Furthermor­e, Cosatu needs to answer the following questions.

Firstly, what is to happen to the more than 500 000 people who have found work through brokers? Is it Cosatu’s view that all 500 000 will be directly and permanentl­y employed by the current clients of the brokers? That would be extremely wishful thinking.

Secondly, what is to happen to the thousands of people directly employed in running the broker industry – the payroll clerks, drivers, supervisor­s, managers, secretaria­l and admin staff, many of them black?

Where does Cosatu propose that they go?

Thirdly, many of the big labour outsourcer­s have major BEE components. What does Cosatu believe these black directors and investors should do? Must they close their business interests and careers and ride off into the sunset?

Finally , what are the real reasons behind the call by Cosatu and the SA Communist Party to ban the industry, and how would this be beneficial?

If Cosatu and the SACP are candid about the real reasons behind their anti-broker offensive, then they will admit that banning brokers is another stratagem in their power manoeuvrin­g within the tripartite alliance.

Captains of industry currently have the right to impose a lockout during a strike and to engage replacemen­t labour.

Brokers are the most efficient providers of replacemen­t labour. Doing away with brokers will greatly enhance Cosatu’s ability to engage in strikes and socio-economic protests.

Strikes become easier to launch and their impact will increase, improving Cosatu’s leverage within the alliance and its bargaining power with the government, while the right to lock out by captains of industry will become so feeble as to be meaningles­s.

Then there is the question of financial self-interest. Outsourced workers are more difficult to organise, which means that it is more difficult to sign them up as paying union members. President Zuma should think twice before strengthen­ing the hand of Cosatu.

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