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Business: Temp Employment Services Industry Launces Code Of Ethics


Recent Gauteng Business News

The Temporary Employment Services industry (TES) launched the Labour Recruitment Code of Ethics at a function on 24 March 2009, co-hosted by the Services Seta and the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES). The code marks an important commitment by the industry to responsible and committed self-regulation.

In the face of calls by Government to ban labour brokers, the results of which could potentially have dire repercussions for 500 000 assignees placed daily by TES, the country’s competitiveness and precipitate an outflow of foreign direct investment, CAPES has mobilized its members and industry to lobby government and engage in a spirit of co-operation to regulate the industry and rid it of rogue labour brokers who have brought the concept of labour broking into disrepute.

“The launch of the code of conduct for the industry forms part of a multi-tiered approach to professionalizing the labour broking industry, ensuring that self-regulation is effective and delivering fair and decent work for assignees,” explains John Botha, the Chief Operations Officer of the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES). These tiers include:

· The formation of a Certification Institute in partnership with the Services Seta. The Certification Institute will build on the previous professional education programmes to drive professionalism and continuous professional development within the industry.

· The establishment of an industry pension fund. This will ensure that all temporary assignees who do not fall under established bargaining councils will in future have access to an industry pension fund. The board will be established with representatives from both labour and business.

· The Department of Labour is struggling to enforce the numerous provisions on TES in the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Skills Development Act, the BCEA and related Acts. In light of this, CAPES is engaging with a view to establishing a statutory Private Employment Agency Board that is representative of the social partners and which would licence, investigate and de-register non-compliant TES if necessary.

“The launch of the industry code of conduct is further proof that even in the absence of a statutory right to regulate and given the Department of Labour’s failure to regulate TES, as an industry we have not been idly standing by. The industry has voluntarily opted for self-regulation for many years now to ensure fair and equitable practices by TES who employ the majority of temporary assignees in South Africa via CAPES and its member associations, APSO (Association of Personnel Service Organisations), CEA (Constructional Engineering Association), ANASA (Association of Nursing Agencies of South Africa) and ITA (Information Technology Association),” explains John Botha, Chief Operations Officer of CAPES.

“We continue to establish various collective arrangements with unions to demonstrate that TES recognises and underwrites the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The reality is that we need to forge a new and innovative arrangement in respect of unionisation, given that the traditional model of the unions is not easily applied to the modern workplace,” explains Botha.

CAPES endorses the notion of decent work as conceptualised by the ILO as it promotes:

· A fair income and access to benefits

· Employment security

· Social security

· Freedom of association

· Healthy and safe work environment

The local TES industry is aligned with countries such as the US and Australia which run similar industry programs and is also currently engaging with FEDUSA around aspects of self-regulation for the industry.

About TES:

The Temporary Employment Services (TES) industry accounts for around 4% of the economically active population in South Africa and is a small but important contributor to various national strategic initiatives of both the government and the private sector. In Rand terms, the industry is a R26 billion plus industry providing jobs for around 500 000 assignees on any day. Of these assignees approximately 15% - 32% obtain permanent employment (depending on job-type) and TES therefore acts as a channel for the unemployed, under-employed and outsiders (people who find it difficult to obtain employment such as youth and the aged) into the formal labour market.

The new world of work with its changing technology, short product life cycles and skills shortages, as well as the impact of globalization on competitiveness, means that life-long employment is no longer a reality. Rather, the TES industry focuses on employment security rather than job security. In addition, it is attempting to balance employment flexibility with benefits security.

Temporary assignees, given the nature of the TES industry, are continually exposed to new technologies, different industries and various positions and this contributes towards their marketability and employment security. The TES industry also engages in learnerships, apprenticeships and is one of the largest contributors to the skills development levy in South Africa via the Services SETA.

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