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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Ban Labour brokers

08-12-08

The Congress of South African Trade Unions applauds Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana for his statement to Langa residents that the ANC will ban labour brokers after it wins next year`s election` and that a vote for the ANC means exactly that`.

COSATU totally agrees with him that labour brokers are not doing our workers a service. People who are employed by labour brokers have no pensions, no benefits in the end they are just dumped`.

The federation also warmly welcomes the banning of labour broking by the government of Namibia.

Labour broking is a form of human trafficking. These companies sell` the labour of workers to the highest bidder and then pay them the lowest possible wage, often in cash with no deductions for tax or UIF, let alone any benefits. The broker then pockets t he difference as his or her profit. It is an extreme form of free-market capitalism which reduces workers to commodities that can be traded for profit, just as if they were meat or vegetables.

Legislation clearly states that the `employer` is whoever actually pays the workers` wages, i.e. the broker, who thus should obliged to comply with all an employer`s statutory obligations to the workers. Often in practice, however, the broker and the compa ny to which they supply the workers, each try to dodge their responsibility to contribute to tax, UIF, provident funds, medical aids, health and safety compliance, skills development, etc by claiming that it is the other`s responsibility.

Labour brokers are also basically anti-trade union. Because `their` workers are constantly being moved around from one workplace to another for short periods, often with no access to union officials or the possibility of stop-order deductions for union sub s, they find it very hard to join a union or to remain as members. Labour brokers are also frequently `scab brokers` and strike-breakers.

We look forward to seeing the next ANC government finally bring an end to labour broking and all other forms of casualisation. All workers must have one clearly identifiable employer who is legally responsible for ensuring that they all receive all the ben efits and protection they are entitled to under our constitution and labour laws, including the right to join and remain a member of a trade union.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

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