Changes in labour laws will shed jobs - DA
SHOULD Parliament pass controversial amendments to two labour acts, then the country's high unemployment rate could continue to spiral out of control.
Briefing the media in Parliament yesterday DA shadow minister of labour Sejamothopo Motau said no clear thought had been given to the proposed amendments.
He said a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) conducted in 2010 suggested that the jobs of 2.13 million temporarily employed people would be jeopardised if the amendment to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act went ahead.
However, since changes had been made to the draft policies, a further assessment study had not been done.
"We will be shooting in the dark. Without an RIA we don't know what the impact will be (on jobs)," Motau said.
He said the DA was particularly opposed to new clauses which limited the services of contract workers and workers hired through temporary employment to six months.
"We are not opposed to a cap, but 12 months has been hailed as a good practice globally," he said.
"The cumulative effect of these amendments would be to dramatically drive up the cost of temporary and contracted labour ... They will kill existing jobs and will drive up unemployment over time."
He said employers were following the global trend towards hiring contract workers as this lessened business costs.
However, placing such a restrictive time frame on the contract meant businesses might revert to permanent employment leaving many without any jobs.
Should employers want to extend the contracts or services of their workers they would need to apply to the department for permission, a possibly lengthy and costly exercise.
Other points of contention were clauses relating to strike action.
In Section 69, the DA supported the call that only unionised members could strike but rejected subsections that allow strikers to picket on third parties' properties.
Motau said Section 67 stated that even though unions were required to have ballots before going on strike, no court action could be taken against them for not doing so.
The portfolio committee on labour will hold public hearings in Parliament today and tomorrow.