An impact study should be done on the proposed amendments to labour legislation to evaluate its overall impact on the labour market. This is one of the statements that Solidarity today submitted at the Portfolio Committee on Labour’s continuing public hearings about amendments to the Labour Relations Act (Act 66 of 1995) and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (Act 75 of 1997).
Johan Kruger, Head of the Solidarity Research Institute, said that one of the most worrying amendments to the Labour Relations Act, which has not really been addressed yet, is the provision in article 111(5) stating that if a trade union is deregistered and launches an appeal, the deregistration will remain valid for the duration of the appeal process. “Such a measure has the potential to sink a trade union even if the appeal ultimately succeeds.” Solidarity welcomes amendments to the Labour Relations Act which aim to make it easier for minority trade unions to obtain organisational rights. According to Kruger it is important that trade union pluralism is encouraged in South Africa. “Minority trade unions are pushed out of the workplace through the abuse of existing legislation sanctioning the setting of unobtainable thresholds for recognition. This is an important step in stamping out this abuse,” said Kruger.
According to Kruger the proposed article 188B restricts the right of senior employees to dispute the procedural and substantive fairness of their dismissal. “An employee could be dismissed arbitrarily provided that the employer pays him or her three months’ salary regardless of whether a fair process was followed or if there is a valid reason for dismissal.”
Kruger said the cumulative effect of the proposed labour legislation could undermine the government’s laudable aim of creating work. “The proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998) and the new Employment Services Bill, which has in concept already been finalised by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), as well as the other amendments must be subjected to an impact study to evaluate its overall impact on the labour market before they are tabled in parliament.”