TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES FACING NEW CHALLENGES FROM ORGANISED LABOUR
recruitment, Temporary Employment Services, Flexible Staff
Nritika Singh , MD of Isilumko Staffing, a national recruitment company which offers temporary, flexible and permanent staff, was interviewed and asked for her opinion on the current situation concerning flexible staffing and its impact on the job market.
What are your major challenges?
“Temporary Employment Services (TES) in South Africa are facing one of their biggest challenges to date with (organised labour, in the form of the) Unions, exerting increasing pressure on the government to amend existing labour legislation limiting certain employment practices currently in place in the industry. Being an election year there is bound to be political points scoring.
“The worldwide trend over the past 30 years has been for the increasing role of Temporary Employment Services (TES) in the labour market. Local labour brokers in The TES industry is (are) now rallying to prevent a reversal of this global trend, where temporary staff number 30-40% of the total workforce. Companies with fixed costs are particularly hardest hit in an economic downturn. Being flexible with staffing makes economic sense. Europe is a good example, where countries encouraging a flexible staffing model have flourished, correlating with increased competitiveness and higher productivity levels. Furthermore temporary employees often acquire new skills and a sizeable number of temps convert to permanent positions of employment.
“There is tremendous pressure on the temporary side or our business, because only approximately 23% of organisations providing TES, are registered with the Department of Labour or accredited with organisations such as the Association of Personnel Service Organisations of South Africa (APSO). The result is that some of these unregistered businesses operate using unethical and unregulated practices. This means that just a few ‘bad apples’ not only give the whole industry a bad name, but also raise the ire of the Unions, who blame the entire industry.
How do you see this being counteracted?
“The current proposed draft APSO Code of Best Practice Ethics with a whole section dedicated to TES is most welcome. It provides for compliance with labour legislation, the provision of contracts of employment aligned to statute, possession of an IRP 30 Certificate and the making of all the required statutory deductions. Further to this the draft provides for proof of compliance needing to be submitted to APSO.
“I must also add that the formation of the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES) in 2002 has provided the industry including TES, with a forum for all stake holders and labour brokers to discuss common issues and find solutions where problem areas are encountered. The main objective of CAPES is to obtain a statutory right to regulate the industry, which will be accompanied by the ability to impose severe sanctions on Private Employment Agencies that are in contravention of either the law or ethics. The body is well positioned to have its voice heard in government.
“The industry needs to speak with one voice and be self-regulated so that accredited, professional recruitment agencies monitor and uphold legislation and procedures, protecting both the employee and employer. We believe that although current labour laws provide enough checks and balances to protect all parties concerned, we still have to root out all non-compliant ‘rebels’. This is where the Department of Labour should vigorously enforce the provisions of the various Acts."
How significant is the flexible staffing market in this country and what is the way forward?
Isilumko Staffing Human Resources and Legal Director Steve Katz says, “Labour brokers play a significant role in the estimated R18 billion per annum employment sector, with an average of 410,000 temporary workers employed in South Africa every day.
“If we act in a unified way, promote our image, comply with all the current Labour Law legislation and introduce a strong self regulatory system, our TES industry should successfully counteract the threat of wholesale labour law changes.”
, Temporary Employment Services