Sharpeville Day – Memorandum of demands submitted to the Department of Labour

Scrap the labour law amendments currently before Parliament!

Date: 21 March 2018 – Sharpeville Day

MEMORANDUM TO:

  • THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
  • THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
  • THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
  • THE GAUTENG LEGISLATURE
  • THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
  • THE MINISTER OF LABOUR
  • THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR

FROM: The #ScrapNewLabourLaws Campaign – a coalition of more than 20 working class organisations including trade unions, civil society organisation and community based organisations. A full list of member organisations can be found at the end of this memorandum.

We note the proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Act 66 of 1995 and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Act 75 of 1997, as well as the National Minimum Wage Bill, as summarised in Government Gazette No. 41257 of 17 November 2017.

The contents of the labour law amendments amount to a shocking and devastating attack on the rights of workers in South Africa, with the most vulnerable workers especially targeted.

The process through which these Bills were drafted and are being legislated denies meaningful participation and consultation to the vast majority of the working class and their organisations.

We therefore reject these amendments in total. We have separately and together made submissions to the Department of Labour and the parliamentary portfolio committee on labour, where we explain in detail how these amendments amount to attacks of workers’ rights. Here we simply note the rights being attacked by these bills:

  1. The right to strike;
  2. The right to collective bargaining (by allowing bargaining council agreements made by minority unions to be extended to all workers in the relevant sector);
  3. The right to a living wage;
  4. Housing, land and other non-wage rights embedded in the sectoral determinations;
  5. The right to have the minimum wage implemented at whichever level it is enacted (by making enforcement the responsibility of the CCMA, for which it is not suited);
  6. The right to access an efficient dispute resolution system (by overwhelming the CCMA with enforcement responsibilities that will undermine its dispute resolution capacities).

WE THEREFORE DEMAND:

  1. Scrap the amendments on strike ballots, picketing rules, longer conciliation and compulsory arbitration.
  2. Restore the right of workers to strike over things like unfair dismissal (disputes of rights).
  3. Bosses must not be able to use scab labour/magundwane during protected strikes.
  4. Unions must organise the majority of workers in a sector before bargaining council agreements can be extended to non-unionised workers in the sector.
  5. A national monthly minimum wage decided by workers themselves.
  6. The Minister of Labour must still be authorised to make sectoral determinations.
  7. New sectoral determinations for workers who are not presently covered.
  8. Enforcement of minimum wages must be the job of the Department of Labour, with many more trained inspectors, more powers to inspectors to force bosses to implement the minimum wage and monitoring work of inspectors.
  9. Labour inspectors must consult with workers before workplace inspections.
  10. Scrap the labour bills.


#ScrapNewLabourLaws Campaign

Abahlali basemjondolo-Freedom Park, AIDC, Alex LCMF, APDUSA, Black Sash Trust, BPAC, CWAO, Gauteng Community Healthworkers Forum, GIWUSA, ILRIG, Keep Left, Khanya College, Khulumani Support Group, LHR, MACODEFO, Maokene Advice & Resource Centre, NUCWOSA,NUPSAW, NUMSA, PACSA, R2K, SACCA, SAFTU, SERI, Simunye Workers Forum, United Front, WASP, WWMP

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