Today's Labour News

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Busa2Financial Mail writes that organised business is hopeful that "ground-breaking" labour law amendments, which include the national minimum wage (NMW) bill passed recently by parliament, will usher in a period of labour stability.  

But with the economy continuing to shed jobs and with inter-union rivalry on the rise, labour-market peace may remain elusive.  Even more important in such a job-starved economy is whether the reforms will close off first-time job opportunities, which is the primary concern of Professor Haroon Bhorat of the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT).  He was the lead author of research that found that an NMW of about R20 an hour could cause more than 500,000 job losses.  But Business Unity SA (Busa) is bullish.  In exchange for agreeing to an NMW of R20 an hour, business has achieved some big wins in the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, including the introduction of secret strike balloting, advisory arbitration and default picketing rules.  Unions have six months from the commencement of the act to ensure their constitutions provide for recorded, secret balloting, which it is hoped will reduce the propensity to strike.  Advisory arbitration will apply in the event of prolonged or dysfunctional industrial action; when there is violence, damage to property or a threat to constitutional rights; or when industrial action leads to a local or national crisis.  Another new provision allows for generic picketing rules to be imposed if no such prior rules exist.  These legislative changes go together with a new code of good practice and an accord on collective bargaining and industrial action.  A crucial part of the labour-stability package is the introduction of the NMW.  President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to sign the relevant bills into law in September, with a view to the NMW and its exemptions process taking effect from 1 October.

  • Read this informative article by Claire Bisseker in full at BusinessLive


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