The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is ready to pull out all the stops to ensure that all workers who work for labour brokers are made permanent after three months.
This after the Labour Appeals Court this past week ruled that workers, who were contracted by temporary employment services, automatically become permanent employees if they work at a company for longer than three months.
"This is a victory for contract and temporary workers everywhere! It confirms that labour brokers may not exploit workers on contract for indefinite periods of time," said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.
"Numsa will now pursue their plight even more aggressively and demand justice for our members."
According to Numsa's statement, the case involved a company called Assign Services, a labour broking company which was supplying contract staff to Krost Shelving and Racking.
Assign Services believed, that after the period of three months lapsed, contract workers would be the responsibility of both Krost and Assign.
Numsa contended that the placed workers should be regarded as full-time employees of Krost, as they had been contracted to work there in excess of three months. In terms of the law, Krost was the sole employer.
Assign disagreed and contended that the workers were the responsibility of Assign and Krost, as dual employers, and that the temporary contract remained intact.
Initially, the CCMA found that Krost should assume full responsibility, as the sole employer, but Assign applied to the Labour Court to review the decision. The Labour Court overturned the CCMA decision.
Numsa appealed to the Labour Appeals Court, which upheld the decision of the CCMA, that contract workers automatically become full-time employees of the main employer after the three-month period has lapsed.
"As Numsa, we are pleased that the court has reinforced the principle that the purpose of temporary employment is short-term. If it extends beyond three months, then a worker automatically becomes a permanent employee of the employer.
"Numsa has proven once again that we are a militant trade union which is willing to go all the way in fighting for the rights of our members," reads Numsa's statement.
"Whilst other trade unions are preoccupied with ANC factional battles, Numsa is fighting for workers' rights. By securing this victory, we have strengthened the rights of temporary workers everywhere in South Africa."
While the union would continue to press the government to abolish the labour broker system, Jim called on all Numsa members to ensure that all temporary workers working at a company for three months be made permanent employees.