20 August 2014

South Africa: The President's Assent to Labour Relations Amendment Act

press release

The African National Congress welcomes the assenting of President Jacob Zuma to the Labour Relations Amendment Act yesterday, 19th August 2014. We believe that this step clears the way for the proclamation and gazetting of radical and bold steps to further secure and entrench workers rights through progressive labour relations prescripts.

The ANC is particularly pleased that the Labour Relations Amendment Act deals decisively with the untenable exploitation of workers through labour brokers. The Act ensures greater protection for workers placed in temporary employment services in that they cannot be treated unequally from any other employee performing the same or similar work.

Further the temporary employment service and its client are jointly and severally liable for specified contraventions of employment laws. According to the Act, temporary employment and fixed term contract work should not exceed a period of three months, following which the employee will be entitiled to equal benefits and conditions as employees employed permanently - barring a few exceptions identified within act. This is a significant victory for many workers who have been subjected to certain abusive practices as a result of a lack of job security.

These amendments take forward the ANC's commitment to decent work by providing adequate protection to vulnerable workers due to increased informalisation of labour. It will strengthen the constitutional rights of workers and promote fair labour practices through the strengthening of collective bargaining and protection from unfair discrimination. These amendments will alsp strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of primary labour institutions that provide recourse.

One of the pillars of these amendments will tighten the interpretation of Labour Relations and Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997. The ANC appreciates the vigorous engagements that led to these developments and hail this as a major step forward.

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