Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana is now in his eleventh year heading his department and shows no sign of slowing down. Speaking ahead of his budget speech to parliament Mdladlana explained that nearly all of the country’s labour laws will be amended in the coming months.
The Labour Relations Act will be address more clearly the issue of labour broking and define exactly who is the employer in such working arrangements. The Unemployment Insurance Fund will also be amended so that benefits can be increased. Employment Equity is likely to see increased fines for transgression and streamlined processes to allow the Labour Department to act more quickly.
Another big change underway is the movement of the entire skills development function to the new Department of Higher Education and Training. A task team is working on how best to do this and the Labour Minister explained that his department will continue to enfore this law during the transition period.
The shake up of SA’s labour laws comes against the backdrop of an economy in recession and rising job losses. Are these the right moves to make at this time? Would it be better to focus on job creation in this period – or is that impossible in a recession?