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Adoption of the controversial Labour Relations Amendment Bill delayed for now

by , 24 June 2013
A vote on the controversial Labour Relations Amendment Bill has been postponed to the next parliamentary session, which commences on August 20. According to the Mail & Guardian, this is because the National Assembly was 34 MPs short of the required 50% one (201) to vote on the Bill. The Bill, which deals with the ban of labour brokers among other things, has been a thorny issue with business, trade unions and opposition parties opposed to it. Here's why...

The Democratic Alliance (DA) strongly opposed the Bill, which it described as a 'job-killing' piece of legislation.

The DA and the Congress of the People strongly opposed the removal of a clause requiring strike ballots before a protected strike could take place arguing that ballots would limit strike violence and intimidation and ensure democracy in the trade union movement, iAfrica reports.

Labour experts have also slammed the committee's failure adopt this clause saying it would prompt the continuation of the violence and intimidation that have marred industrial relations for many years.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The most contentious issue about the Bill is the proposed ban on labour brokers, which means more responsibility for you if you hire temporary or fixed-term employees.

If government has its way through the proposed amendments to Bill, you'll be forced to treat temporary, fixed-contract and part-time workers on an equal basis after three months.

The move, according to government is meant to ban labour brokers and the exploitation of temporary workers

The Department of Labour's chief director, Thembinkosi Mkalipi, explained that the labour broker would be deemed to be the employer for the first three months of employment, but thereafter both the broker and the company would be deemed to be the employers, in the event of a dispute, BDlive reports.

What the Labour Relations Amendment Bill really means for your company

Getting rid of labour brokers will have consequences on your company's ability to outsource and prune your workforce to avoid the additional costs. This means you'll no longer have the flexibility to take on and release workers according to your requirements, explains FSP Business.

The Bill could essentially change the whole structure of your business, from operational costs to employment contracts. That's why it's crucial that you watch this issue closely as soon as parliament opens after its winter recess.

The Bill has also drawn widespread criticism from labour experts

BDlive reported that Adcorp's CE Richard Pike said the committee's decisions were disastrous for job creation and particularly ill-advised in South Africa's perilous economic situation.

'I think it is going to hurt employment on a mammoth scale,' Pike said. According to BDlive, he cited the example of the retail industry where 40% of staff were contract workers because of the fluctuating nature of the business.
It's in your best interest to keep your eye on the bill that'll undoubtedly impact your business as it looks set to be passed in its current form.

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