Labour laws are written for big, not small, businesses

Labour problems start with the recruitment process. The big company or bureaucracy has a specialist human resources department to interview and select candidates for jobs. They carry out thorough checks on qualifications and experience and generally make good decisions. Small businesses, on the other hand, rely on a more instinctive approach and, where possible, on personal recommendations. It is not the open and transparent process required by labour legislation but it works for a number of good reasons.

Firstly, employees and foremen base their recommendations on personal knowledge and experience. They are unlikely to recommend slackers or people who will not pull their weight as this will make their own working lives more difficult. There is a better chance that the new worker will ‘fit in’ while the newcomer draws comfort from the knowledge that his fellow workers have accepted him and that he is part of a team. This is the way the skipper of a fishing boat would go about finding crewmen who can work together and depend on each other for survival in the tough ocean environment. Unfortunately, our labour legislation was written for the ocean liners and not frail boats.

AUTHOR Michael Bagraim is the owner of Bagraims Labour Lawyers. This article is an excerpt from the book Jobs Jobs Jobs published by the Free Market Foundation and may be published without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author. The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.

FMF Policy Bulletin / 10 April 2012

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