LOCATING THE FLEXIBLE LABOUR DISCOURSE IN THE DECENT WORK AGENDA
The research seeks to explore how Nedlac’ s social partners understand the constructs of flexible labour and decent work. The study also examines how the views of these social partners influence debates on employment creation. Discourse on fl e x i b l e l abour and decent work has unravelled two policy strands on (a) regulating the labour market or (b) banning certain forms of f l e x i b i l i t y . The study assesses how the views of Nedlac’ s social partners on flexible labour and decent work shape the policy choices they make to ban or regulate flexible employment practices in South Afr i c a . This is a qualitative research study. Interviews and document reviews were used to collect primary and secondary data respectively. The Nedlac institution was used as an illustrative case study since it has knowledgeable policy developers representing different constituent groups. The research reviewed literature on the defi n i t i o n o f labour f lexibi l i ty whi l e also looking at other thematic areas such as the theories of f lexibisation, the types of labour f l e x i b i l i t y , c o n t e s t a t i o n s within the labour constituency, employment creation and the flexicurity model as a third way agenda fo r flexible and decent jobs. The study reveals that Nedlac’ s social partners understand flexible labour and decent work in line with t h e f indings f rom the reviewed literature. However social partners have different views on the contribution of flexibility on employment creation and decent work. The policy options suggested by Nedlac’ s social partners seem d i f f e r e n t from a distance. A closer scrutiny identifi e s t h a t b o t h regulation and banning are done through legislative amendments. The d i f ference been the two policy options is the extent of regulation as other social partners advocate for stringent regulatory measures to limit the abuse of vulnerable workers and others demand a total ban of c e r t a i n f lexible labour practices. In conclusion, it is the researcher’s view that debates on fl e x i b l e labour and decent work are ju s t i fied. Discourse on the impact of f lexibi l i ty on vulnerable workers is important for the regulation of t h e South African labour market. Policy makers must ensure business efficiency without sacrificing the protection of vulnerable workers. The study reveals that there are a lot of decent work deficits amongst both permanent and temporary forms of employment. The Nedlac’s social partners concur that the precursor to decent work is t h e transformation of temporary jobs into permanent employment through the training and development of temporary assignees.
MM (P&DM) thesis
Labour market, Flexible labour