The National Assembly has adopted the Labour Relations Amendment Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, 20th August 2013. It was passed with 248 votes to 81, after two years before Parliament. It must now serve before the Council of Provinces.
Amendments to the Labour Relations Act will enhance the protection of workers and should help to avoid exploitative practices and to ensure decent work for all workers, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Wednesday. The Minister however declined to make any reference to the impact this would have on employers.
The Amendments as now approved have several material implications for employers. It gives trade unions much easier access to organizational rights and would enhance trade union activity. Problematic provisions are however the regulation of temporary employment services and fixed term contracts, which materially changes the current legal dispensation and would cause significant difficulties and liabilities for employers. The right of employers to use restructuring to effect changes to conditions of employment has also been curtailed. It is critical that all employers fully acquaint themselves with these provisions.
Positive developments are better regulation of the right to strike which includes the possible forfeiture of the right to strike and creation of liability where strikers misbehave. The Bill includes allowing for organizational rights to unions that do not enjoy majoritarian status
The final version of The Bill is still to be published, and then only will it be ready for signature by President Zuma.
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