Basic Conditions of Employment Bill [b98-97]: discussion

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Employment and Labour

02 November 1997
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PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR
3 NOVEMBER 1997
BASIC CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT BILL: AMENDMENTS


Mr Kettledas, representing the Department of Labour, itemised the amendments and stated that the summary includes all suggested amendments.

The National Party wants lower wages and more flexibility.

The Department of Labour does not accept the DP/NP suggestion of the insertion of a definition for "small business" as it does not accept small business as being separate from business. It does not agree with the NP suggestion that the Purpose of the Act requires the addition of the words "and social justice" - as the bill is based on social justice for all employees.

The Department of Labour believes it is necessary for the Minister to have the casting vote on the Commission.

The National Party wants to leave the number of working hours as is. The Department of Labour wants to shorten working hours
In cost of overtime will make employers use less overtime and employ more workers.
If you work a rest day, you must have a day off within 14 days.
If accommodation is supplied by employees, there must be a notice of termination of accommodation
Minister's powers to ..... and adding footnotes still remains to be done.
If the permission to waive rights is refused, this will lead to abuse.
The suggestions by the Democratic Party on overtime have been refused.
Establishment of an overseeing committee is time-wasting.
Forty hours will remain as the goal in the schedule to shorten working hours.
The overtime premium remains.

There were no questions with regard to Mr Kettledas's presentation.

The chairperson, Mr G. Oliphant, put forward the motion that the amendments be accepted.

Mr Leon said the amendments by the Democratic Party were not accepted.
The National Party representative said the amendments by the National Party were not accepted. The Freedom Front also objected.

Section 1: Voting took place concerning the "small business" suggestion of .... small business: 5 in favour; 12 against. Amendment lost.

Mr Arendse (ANC) proposed two new definitions:
"representative" means a representative of a union as elected by members or nominated by employees or representative of affiliated employees.
"representative trade union" means one or more representatives of unions.
Discussion ensued about whether a new amendment can be proposed at this stage as the deadline was 31/10/97.

Section 2: Mr Leon proposed that the DP amendment to Section 2 be included: "to give effect to and promote economic development and job creation".
Voting took place: 5 in favour; 13 against. Suggested amendment lost.

Section 3: Mr Leon proposed that the DP amendment to Section 3 be included that permitted employees to waive their rights.
Voting took place: 4 in favour; 13 against. Suggested amendment lost.

Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 were accepted.
Section 9 (2): The ANC proposed that line 33 be amended: "by written agreement with a recognised trade union representative".

There was a suggestion that such last-minute amendments should be in writing.
A discussion ensued as to whether the ANC had the right to table new amendments at this stage. The ANC stated that all parties had the right to bring new amendments on that day.
The Chairperson said that no substantive amendments had been proposed so far.

The meeting was adjourned for 20 minutes to get copies of amendments.

Section 10 (1) a + : Leon
means completely new writing of this section.
Amendment to overtime: ...... of agreement between employer and employee to agree ..... overtime is removed.
ANC agreed to keep new amendments back to find out what the Department of Labour thinks of them.

Clause 17 and 22: agreed to by all.
Clause 25: Not supported by the National party. ANC might have amendment accepted.
Clauses 29, 36, 37: accepted by all.
Clause 49: ANC will make amendment
Clauses 50-52, 54, 55, 59, 63, 77, 84, 85 and Schedule One: agreed to by all.
Schedule Two: opposed by the Democratic Party.
Schedule Three: agreed to by all.

Mr Kettledas was asked whether he wanted time to consider ANC amendments.

Clause 50: Mr Leon (DP) said that the idea was that there should be a core of regulations that could not be changed by the Minister. This clause says that you may never depart from any ....core. Mr Leon thinks this is unwise - could be wise to amend core of the regularable provisions. The chairperson said there was flexibility up to 45 hours. Mr Leon said that Schedule One reduces work hours to 40 hours within 18 months. This opposition was noted.

The ANC raised the issue of maternity leave.

Mr Leon asked that all DP amendments be voted on although they had been turned down by the department. Voting took place: all DP amendments were thrown out: 5 agreed; 11 disagreed.

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