Non-Standard Workers: The South African Context, International Law and Regulation by The European Union
Fourie, E. S
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The current labour market has many forms of employment relations that differ from full-time employment. "Atypical," "non-standard," or even "marginal" are terms used to describe these new workers and include, amongst others, part-time work, contract work, self-employment, temporary, fixed-term, seasonal, casual, piece-rate work, employees supplied by employment agencies, home workers and those employed in the informal economy. These workers are often paid for results rather than time. Their vulnerability is linked in many instances to the absence of an employment relationship or the existence of a flimsy one. Most of these workers are unskilled or work in sectors with limited trade union organisation and limited coverage by collective bargaining, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. They should, in theory, have the protection of current South African labour legislation, but in practice the unusual circumstances of their employment render the enforcement of their rights problematic. The majority of non-standard workers in South Africa are those previously disadvantaged by the apartheid regime, compromising women and unskilled black workers. The exclusion of these workers from labour legislation can be seen as discrimination, which is prohibited by almost all labour legislation in South Africa. This contribution illustrates how the concept of indirect discrimination can be an important tool used to provide labour protection to these workers. The purpose of this article is to explore the scope of the extension of labour rights to non-standard workers in the context of South African labour laws and the international framework.