Call to ban labour brokers ill-considered

IT IS disturbing to see organisations who claim to defend workers' interests and social justice being at the forefront of facilitating steps that will see more than 500000 people without jobs.

The Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector has done extensive research on labour brokers in South Africa and, according to their reports, the economic and social benefits derived from labour brokers are undisputable and it is something that the South African economy critically needs.

Given the above, it can be argued that unions are looking out for their own interests rather than those of the collective. Concerns over declining membership numbers are at the centre of this state of affairs.

It is also questionable why unions do not approach the debate with an open mind. They come to the discussion table having already finalised their decision and thus sparing no thought or consideration on regulation. Needless to say that this makes their call to ban labour brokers seem ill-considered and unilateral.

Regulation would not lead to the massive pool of unemployment that is being facilitated by the labour movement. Instead, regulation would yield better results for the worker, the union and the economy.

The argument of decent work is well understood, however this concept is about to be used in a way that will deny people of a living. Regulation would tailor the labour brokers trade in a way that would stream line it with international labour standards.

Thabang Sefalafala, economic and industrial sociology, University of the Witwatersrand