After surviving a three year consultation process and hefty deliberations in the National Economic Development and Labour Council, strike ballot provisions were voted out of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill by Parliament’s labour committee last week.
The provisions, which were intended to amend the sections regulating workers’ right to strike in the Labour Relations Act made it a procedural requirement for the majority of a union’s members to vote in favour of a strike. The proposed amendment was lauded by the business community as being a potential solution to the violent strikes that have characterised the last few years. However, the Congress of South African Trade Unions rejected the proposal as being an easy way for legitimate strikes to be undermined by disgruntled employers.
The end result is that minority decisions will continue to potentially force workers in a union to strike about an issue that they may not even support. In many cases, workers will not be paid for the duration of the strike.
The Bill is currently being debated in the National Assembly and will then be sent to the National Council of Provinces for approval.