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Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Wednesday it would go to the Constitutional Court on Thursday to defend the rights of temporary and contract workers it says are systematically abused by labour brokers.

The union said its members, led by Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, would hold a protest outside while the court heard arguments on how to interpret new provisions of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) which regulates labour brokering.

Labour-broking company Assign Services brought the case to court.

Unions accuse labour brokers of exploiting workers, which they say have no job security, are paid less than permanent workers and often have no protection against unfair dismissal.

The unions and labour brokers have differed over how to interpret a new provision in the law on who between labour brokers and client companies is effectively the employer of temporary workers who have been contracted for more than three months.

Numsa says it rejects brokers' assertion that both the brokering firm and the client company effectively employ the temporary worker after the three month period has lapsed.

African News Agency/ANA