3 Proposed Labour Bills: discussion

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

27 October 1999

Documents handed out
Letter from the Department of Labour (attached to end of minutes)
Employment Equity Amendment Bill proposed by Mr R Heine (DP)
Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill proposed by Mr R Heine (DP)
Labour Relations Amendment Bill proposed by Mr R Heine (DP)
Corruption Act Amendment Bill proposed by Ms R Talijaard (DP)

The Labour Relations, Employment Equity and Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bills were withdrawn by Mr R Heine (DP) as a result of a letter received from the Department of Labour that day. The Corruption Act Amendment Bill proposed by Ms R Talijaard (DP) will be discussed in the next meeting.

Mr R Heine withdrew his proposed Labour Relations Amendment Bill. The chair explained to the members that part of this proposed bill appeared to be incorrect so Mr R Heine would like to re-draft the proposal. Mr Heine explained that because of Point 3.4 in the Letter from the Department of Labour (attached to end of minutes) he wanted to withdraw the legislation to see what the minister would be doing.

M N Bruce (DP) commented that if the Minister had gotten the letter to the MP's earlier, then the committee would not have had to meet and time would not have been wasted.

A member of the ANC welcomed the withdrawal of the bill but claimed it was the responsibility of the DP to do its homework properly before coming to this committee with a proposal. He would not accept the blame being put on the Minister. He asked if all the proposals of the DP were being withdrawn?

Mr Heine (DP) stated that he had received no feedback from the Minister on the bills and that the letter this morning was the first response he had received. He added that if the Minister had talked to him earlier he would not have submitted the bill. He then said that all his bills were withdrawn.

The chair reminded members that at the next meeting they would discuss the Corruption Act Amendment Bill proposed by Ms R Taljaard (DP).

would be discussed.

Appendix 1:
October 26,1999

Dear Mr Hendrickse

Response for the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Private Members'
Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions: Proposals in respect of :


· Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill


· Employment Equity Amendment Bill


· Labour Relations Amendment Bill

  1. Introduction
  1. The Department of Labour notes the proposed Amendment Bills by the Democratic Party.
  2. President Thabo Mbeki at the opening address of Parliament on 25 June 1999, indicated that discussions with social partners on addressing problems with our labour laws would proceed.
  3. The issues raised by the President included the extension of bargaining council agreements and certain provisions of the BCEA, which are also included in the proposed Democratic Party Amendment Bills
  4. Arising out of the commitment by the President, the Minister of Labour has initiated a process with social partners to discuss their problems with our laws and the consideration of legislative amendments.
  5. This process is underway. It would be premature to consider these Amendment Bills. The issues may be addressed in the process with social partners and amendments may arise out of this process.
  6. It would be beneficial for Parliament to debate labour law reform in a more holistic manner.
  7. Further, consideration needs to be given that Parliament cannot consider the proposed Amendment Bills without going to NEDLAC. In terms of the Nedlac Act, 35 of 1994 all proposed labour legislation must be refereed to Nedlac before it is introduced in Parliament.
  8. Notwithstanding the above, below are the Department's comments as requested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
  1. Employment Equity Amendment Bill
  1. This Bill makes provision for a review of the Employment Equity Act five years of it Coming into operation.
  2. It is the view of the Department that laws can be reviewed for their ongoing relevance without a specific provision in the Act. Further, there are mechanisms in the Department and in the Act for ongoing reviews.
  3. The Department is putting in place mechanism's to monitor the impact of labour laws to identify unintended consequences timeously and to deal with them.
  4. The Act establishes a tripartite Commission for Employment Equity representative of the stakeholders who are able to advise the Minister on all matters relating to the Act. They also have responsibility for publishing an annual report. These mechanisms can be used to review and analyse the progress of Employment Equity and the continued need for some or all of the provisions in the Act.
  5. The proposed Amendment Bill envisages that a review after five years could establish whether or not the Act has achieved its objectives, and if so, it should cease. From the experiences in other countries is it highly unlikely that the Act would have achieved its objectives in a five year period.
  1. Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill
  1. The Amendment Bill seeks to amend the purpose of the Act to include 'job creation' and to exclude small businesses from the Act with the exception of the provisions of child and forced labour.
  2. It is the view of the Department that to include 'economic development' in the Purpose of the Act is sufficient and that the addition of the words job creation will not add significantly to the Purpose.
  3. It should also be pointed out that whenever the Minister sets minimum wages and conditions of employment in the form of a sectoral determination, he has to in terms of Section 54(3) be advised on the "likely impact of any proposed condition of employment on current employment or the creation of employment."
  4. In respect of excluding small business from the Act, the Department will shortly announce a small business Ministerial determination for all small businesses. This has been the result of an extensive process including an impact assessment, the work of a Ministerial task team, consultations with social partners arid deliberations by the Employment Conditions Commission.
  5. It would be preferred that the outcome of the above mentioned process be implemented and monitored before further amendments are made.
  1. Labour Relations Amendment Bill
  1. It appears that there are a number of technical problems with the proposed Bill:
  1. Reference is made to 'borrowers' which seems to be incorrect.
  2. Reference is made to "members often N.,,," and it is unclear as to who these people are.
  3. Reference is made to a National Small Business Enabling Bill. It is not appropriate for one Bill to make reference to another Bill
  4. Reference is made to 'independent bodies' yet the 1998 LRA Amendment Act changed the Independent Bodies to bodies of appeal.
  5. The Bill proposes that all small businesses be granted automatic exemption. If this were the case, there would be no need for presentation of small business interests on independent bodies to deal with exemptions
  1. In light of the above, it is advised that the Committee recommend to the House that the Bills not be proceeded with.

Lisa Seftel: Chief Director: Labour Relations


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