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Parliament, Cape Town - The National Assembly on Tuesday adopted the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which curtails labour broking but stops short of a ban.
It was passed with 248 votes to 81, after two years before Parliament, and two months after the Democratic Alliance delayed the scheduled vote by walking out.
In June, the opposition tried to block the vote because it claimed the bill would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, notably because of the limits it places on temporary employment.
The bill reduces the period of temporary service organised by labour brokers to three months from six months and, after an eleventh-hour change drafted in June, also does away with the requirement for strike balloting.
In a heated debate in the National Assembly in June, the DA argued that strike balloting would have gone a long way towards achieving labour stability, notably in the mining sector. The party said violence and intimidation were more likely when strikes had only minority support.
But Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said strife in the mining sector should not be blamed on the law, but on the conduct of mining houses. She said the bill was a fair compromise and noted that it stopped short of banning labour broking, but prevented it from turning workers into “permanent temporal employees”.
Oliphant firmly rejected opposition claims that the country's labour regime was overly rigid.
The drafting of the bill saw tense and protracted wrangling between the African National Congress and alliance partner Congress of SA Trade Unions, who had demanded a ban on labour broking.