Engineering body sets up temporary employment unit

19th March 2004 By: candice haase

The requirement for flexible staffing in the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) sector was the catalyst in the Constructional Engineering Association’s (CEA) decision to create a temporary employment services division (TESD) within its structure. The decision to form this body was made in February last year. However, the organisation is still in its development phase.

The TESD will complement the association’s existing labour-broking division for blue-collar workers. TESD chairperson Steve Field explains that the migration of the human-resources pool at the white-collar level in the engineering sector, combined with the changing nature of the EPCM industry in South Africa necessitates the development of such an association.

The TESD is in the throes of developing a code of ethics within the CEA’s framework to govern the relationship between clients, the TESD and the temporary employees and assignees. This code requires TESD members to observe standards of service to their clients, as well as good standards of employment practices applicable to their employees and assignees.

Field emphasises that the TESD will not stifle competitiveness among its member companies.

At the moment, there are 11 staffing-services companies within the TESD and 2 500 temporary employees or assignees. EPCM houses, clients of the TESD members, will include the likes of Anglo American, Bateman Engineering, Dowding Reynard & Associates, Fluor Daniel, Grinaker-LTA, Hatch Africa, Murray & Roberts and Placer Dome.

Many of these clients are members of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa, the umbrella organisation for the CEA.

“This will support the synergies required to develop the relationship between the three pillars of the temporary employment model – the client, the TESD member and the temporary employee or assignee,” explains CEA executive director Louis Breckenridge. The prevailing relationship between these three parties is structured such that the labour broker has a contract to supply contractors to its client.

The client liaises with and supervises the contractor, while the labour broker and contractor have a contracting agreement.

The revised temporary employment model proposes that the TES company will be responsible for the service-level agreement with its client. Moreover, the TES company will oversee the terms of the contract with its temporary employee or assignee.

Field comments that the client companies’ responses have been positive and that they are in the process of forming a parallel body to align themselves to the TESD and its goals.

Effectively, the changes in legislation, including the South African Revenue Services Act, the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, skills development, employment equity, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and workmen’s compensation have made the change necessary.

“It was apparent that the observance of all aspects of labour employment legislation was being interpreted differently by members of TESD,” Field explains.

“The government, through its legislative framework, has thrown a blanket over the temporary employment services industry. We need to earn recognition for this industry,” Field maintains.