Labour appeal court upholds rights of vulnerable workers

MEN AT WORK: Workers have the law to protect them. PICTURE: FLICKR

The Labour Appeal Court ruling that sections of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) restricts the application of temporary employment services (TES), also known as labour brokers to genuine temporary employment and protects the rights of placed workers, has been hailed.

The effect of the ruling is that after three months an employee of a TES can be deemed to be the employee of the client company only. This overturns the Labour Court’s 2015 judgment of acting judge Martin Brassey that labour brokers and their clients are “dual” employers.

The campaign against labour broking resulted in amendments to the Labour Relations Act, which came into force on January 2015 and provided new rights for labour broker workers.

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) representing the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) made submissions in the matter arguing that Brassey’s interpretation was wrong because it did not protect TES workers in the way the law intended.

LHR’s Carol Mohlala said the decision provides precarious workers a clear avenue to now enforce protections enacted for their benefit in the amended LRA.

“This is a major victory for labour broker workers, who can now look to the client company as their employer, who must now treat them not less favourably than other workers, take responsibility for unfair dismissals and even bargain with them,” she said. – 701570