Unfair labour practices, labour legislation and protection of migrant workers in South Africa
Phiri, Thato Edwin
South Africa has a long history of the movement of people from one region to another with the intention of resettling to live and work. This is a phenomenon that is expected to continuously reconfigure and define everyday realities for a significant number of people in the country. Although labour migration has had a significant contribution to the development of the South African economy, there are increasing concerns about the experiences of unfair labour practices and exploitation in the South African labour market, which poses a challenge for the South African labour legislation and labour migrant workers’ ability to successfully move, live and work in South Africa. This paper investigated the experiences of migrant workers in the city of Cape Town and Johannesburg against the background of alleged prevailing cases of unfair labour practices across different industries in the South African labour market. Using a qualitative methodology, 20 domestic and international migrant workers (10 from Cape Town and 10 from Johannesburg) were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire developed by the researcher. The study found abundant experiences of unfair labour practices and exploitation of migrant workers in the South African labour market. Furthermore, the study found that the perception of unfair labour practices and exploitation extended to other migrant workers across the South African labour market. Consequently, domestic and international migrant workers expressed a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of South African labour legislation to protect their labour rights. However, these workers are prepared to live with the unfair labour practices and exploitation they experience, as they have no better economic alternative available to them than the ones they currently choose. Recommendations were made to the Department of Labour, employers of labour and migrant workers based on the findings of this study.
Thesis M.Com. (Human Resources Management))--University of the Witwatersrand, School of Economic and Business Sciences,