/ 18 January 2011

Cosatu: DA claims on labour brokers ‘a myth’

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Monday rejected a statement by the Democratic Alliance that proposed amendments to labour legislation would result in job losses, as “a myth”.

“It is a big myth, propagated by the DA and its ideological friends in business and the media, that labour brokers ‘create jobs’,” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

On the contrary, he said, only those companies actively involved in production and service delivery created jobs.

“And they would still require the same number of workers if there were no labour brokers,” he said.

Bills ‘badly drafted’
Cosatu was responding to a statement by the DA labelling the labour Bills, gazetted over the holidays, “shockingly badly drafted”. It called for the Bills to be withdrawn and rewritten as they would result in “hundreds of thousands of job losses”.

“The four Bills that have been announced by the Zuma administration need to be halted in their tracks until the array of problematic provisions they contain are removed,” DA spokesperson Ian Ollis said.

“The problem is with the Cabinet and the department of labour, which are acceding to Cosatu’s demands, with little regard for those who stand to lose jobs, or, indeed, to the plight of South Africa’s unemployed, who will find it harder than ever to find work should these measures be promulgated,” he further stated.

‘Cheap propaganda’
Cosatu said Ollis’ utterances were “cheap propaganda” spread to convince the public that labour brokers were creating more jobs.

“We reject with contempt the argument that the only route to full employment is for workers to accept lower wages and abandon any hope of a secure jobs and a future,” said Craven.

He said that the DA was suggesting that in order for the country to have more jobs, it had to settle for lower pay and worse conditions, and that if you wanted decent work you would have fewer jobs.

A report by the Adcorp Employment Index revealed that while jobs overall had declined by an annualised 2,41% by November 2010, the number of permanent workers decreased most, by 2,74%.

It also found that the number of temporary workers decreased by 1,60%.

According to the report, the number of workers employed by labour brokers increased by 5,59%.

Labour brokers, the report found, represented 6,8% of the total employment in the country.

“This is having a devastating negative effect on the levels of pay, job security and benefits for thousands of workers,” said Craven.

He said labour brokering was “a form of modern slavery.

“If the DA and their labour-broking friends have their way, millions more workers will be plunged into poverty and despair, and we will be on our way to a national catastrophe.”

He said although it was not clear whether the proposed bill would ban labour brokers, the federation of unions would embark on a campaign to call for the total banning of the practice. — Sapa