irvinjimIrvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), comments on the recent high court ruling that dismissed the Free Market Foundation’s (FMF’s) challenge to section 32 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).  

The applicable section allows collective agreements reached in bargaining councils to be extended to employers in the same sector who are not party to the negotiations.  The FMF wanted the wording of the act changed to say that the labour minister "may" extend agreements struck in councils, as opposed to "must", as is currently the case.  Jim maintains that the FMF’s campaign “exposes a deep-seated racism rooted in the colonial mindset, which justifies subjecting black people and Africans in particular to working in sweatshop conditions at the bottom of the food chain where they are constantly denied a decent living wage…”  He goes on to argue that there is no doubt that the FMF seeks to completely dismantle collective bargaining.  Meanwhile its offensive is focused on curtailing collective bargaining’s jurisdiction over workers.

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