oa Agriprobe - Farm workers, job security and labour contractors

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1810-9799



Labour contractors' involvement in the Agricultural sector has increased recently due to a variety of reasons. There is the technological change that makes production more expensive and the legal ambiguities that present opportunities for labour contractors. Labour contractors provide cheaper, seasonal employment to farmers, taking the legislative responsibility away from the farmer. But the Standard Employment Act of South Africa does not cover this three-tiered relationship between farmer, labour contractor and farm worker, causing widespread concern over the use of unregulated labour contractors. Labour Force Survey results suggest a move away from permanent workers within the Western Cape Agricultural sector towards more seasonal employment and casualisation and one case study suggests the unfair treatment of farm workers employed by unregulated labour contractors. This paper investigates the available information on employment trends and labour contractor involvement, and the effect it has on farm workers.

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