I thought there may be some value in quoting Labour Lawyer Michael Bagraim from his recent opinion piece in the Cape Argus. The full article can be read by clicking here: CLICK HERE  Here is a section that I though would add to the important discussion on access to employment.

We have almost 10 million people who are able to work but unable to find employment. 

We know that small business is the engine room for job creation, and unfortunately we know that big business across the world is in the process of shrinking its workforce. Typical employment is a 9am to 5pm job where the individual is employed from the age of 18 to 65.

The world is evolving at an enormous pace, and atypical employment is almost becoming the norm.

Wherever I go in the world, I engage labour legal colleagues who explain how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing our approach to employment, and certainly is helping to fashion changes in our labour law.


The labour broking industry ensures employment of more than a million workers, and we in South Africa should do everything in our power to ensure that no jobs are destroyed in over-regulation.

We still have a situation in South Africa where many employers don’t adhere to our labour law, and many of the labour brokers, known as the bakkie brigade, recruit casual labourers at minimal rates of pay and charge the clients enormous mark-ups.

It is important for the individuals and the unions to be vigilant about these situations and not to damn the entire labour broking industry because of the wrongdoing of the few. Unfortunately, the informal sector is incredibly difficult to monitor and police.

The workforce would gain much by receiving labour information and by acting as their own police. Workers are advised to report any breach of our labour laws to any Department of Labour office across South Africa. In this rapidly changing economic environment and with the shrinking of the workforce, labour brokers have become very effective in recruiting and placement, and have become a vital partner in job creation.

One of the ways to halt the tide of retrenchments is to ensure that our workforce is able to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Labour brokers have found their niche in helping the businesses to access individuals who can effectively ensure that productivity remains at a high.

* Michael Bagraim is a labour lawyer.

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