The protected strike at VWSA Roodekop parts warehouse has entered its fourth day as the company remain recalcitrant and refuses to reverse the decision to outsource the packing department to a labour broker. The outsourcing of the packing area will affect 19 workers.
The company claims that these 19 workers have been redeployed to other jobs in the warehouse and their job security and conditions remain unchanged.
The union is clear about the definition and practise of labour broking. The Labour Relations Act refers to labour broking as “temporary employment service”, and the opposite is untrue. The claims expressed by the company are just astonishing to say the least. It is common knowledge that redeployed workers become redundant because of duplication of tasks leading to retrenchments in the long run. Of course, there is no guarantee that these jobs will be permanent. Workers become temporary and are also not assured of their work. The company should know by now that labour brokers are notorious for changing conditions of employment because they want to achieve maximum profits from the primary employer. The real incentive for a labour broker is financial gain not employment.
Labour brokers create a two tier labour market, where the workers doing the same job are paid differently by a labour broker and the primary company. Labour broking constitutes a triangular relationship between a worker, the broker and the broker’s client. The downside is that workers under the labour brokers do not qualify for any social benefits associated with permanent employment.
Outsourcing is not desirable at all because it is designed to crudely lower wage costs. It has not improved labour standards and salaries of workers. In most cases operations are outsourced if there is a crisis. There is no crisis at VWSA as most workers are experienced to do the job. Our greatest fear is that all the 67 Roodekop workers would be outsourced if we do not resist because the company believes that the part warehouse is not their core business. Certainly outsourcing does not in all instances result in radical transformation of social relations.
It is always not guaranteed that the quality of service outsourced is good. We doubt whether the decision to outsource was taken having regarded the specialised skills of workers and labour broker capacity to supply the goods and services that might otherwise be performed by workers.
[For further information please contact Dumisa Ntuli @ 011 689 1700 or 0829737282]