Three contentious labour bills giving effect to a national minimum wage in South Africa and the introduction of a requirement that trade unions institute a secret ballot before deciding on strike action were passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The National Minimum Wage Bill, which sets minimum wages at R3 500 a month or R20 an hour, except for farmworkers and domestic workers, was passed by the majority of members of Parliament (MPs) gaining 202 votes from mostly African National Congress (ANC) benches. MPs from the Democratic Alliance, one of the bill's biggest critics, walked out before the vote commenced. Sixteen MPs voted against the bill.
The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, which gives effect to the minimum wages, was passed through the same amount of votes.
The Labour Relations Amendment Bill was also passed. If signed into law by the president, this would require unions to rely on a secret ballot before deciding on a strike. Government said the intention of the bill is to prevent the number of protracted, violent strikes which have plagued various industries.