In Namibia the issue of labour hire has become a heated debate between the government, unions and labour brokers companies.The ILO categorises two forms of subcontracting, namely job contracting (where a subcontractor supplies goods or services) and labour-only contracting (the sub-contractor supplies only labour). Most of Namibia’s labour hire companies fall into the second category as they merely only supply labour to their clients.
The workers, known as contractors, field employees, temps, on-hired employees or even just employees, are employed by the labour hire organisation. They are not employed by the company to whom they provide labour. This is an important distinction for the purposes of Occupational Healthy and Safety (OH&S) purposes, in particular who has legislative responsibility for ensuring a safe working environment. This has been tested in court Labour hire when the Africa Labour Services (ALS) lodged an application with the court challenging the amendment of the Labour Act 11 of 2007 by the government that prohibits the hiring out and employing of casual workers in Namibia. According to the heads of argument of the applicants, the provisions of section 128 demands that the user enterprises, among others, to offer labour hire employees the same benefits as their own employees. The arguments a mostly centered between the high unemployment rate in Namibia and the worker's rights, where the government describe labour hire prictice as a form of exploitation to the workers much more like during the colonial era.