Labour Law Amendments to avoid exploitative practices and to ensure decent work for all workers

The amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act will usher in a new era that will enhance the protection of workers and contribute to decent work.

This was said by the Minister of Labour Mrs Mildred Oliphant on the second reading and adoption of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill at the National Assembly today. The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill was adopted by the National Assembly on the last day of sitting prior to the winter recess.

“These amendments are intended to respond to the growing in formalisation of work in the South African labour market and to align the Basic Conditions of Employment Act with the Labour Relations Act in addressing unfair labour practices.

“The Amendments also seek to bring the provisions relating to child labour in line with international standards and to strengthen the mechanisms for enforcement of basic conditions of employment, including wages,” said Oliphant.

Oliphant said that amendments to the BCEA should help to avoid exploitative practices and to ensure decent work for all workers.

“When this Bill becomes Law, it will prohibit the unethical behaviour of requiring work seekers to pay a fee in order to be placed in employment opportunities.  The Law will also prevent employers from forcing employees to purchase goods from the employers’ business as a condition of work.

“When this Bill becomes Law, it will prohibit work by children under the age of 15 years.

When it becomes law, the bill would also strengthen the Labour inspectorate and enforcement by discourage non-compliance through imposition of heavier penalties. The changes to the bills emanated from the ruling party’s resolution in Polokwane which amongst other things called for the introduction of “laws to regulate contract work, sub-contracting and outsourcing, address the problem of labour broking and prohibit certain abusive practices,”.

“The ANC was re-elected on the basis of this manifesto and these are the things that we promised our people. We are delivering on the promise,” said Oliphant.

The adoption comes in the heels of further discussions and public hearings by Parliament on Employment Services Bill and the Employment Equity Amendment Bill. The four bills form part of the far-reaching amendments to the labour regime in South Africa.ds

Media Release: Department of Labour: 20 August 2013

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