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LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
5 August 1998
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY BILL: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out:
Employment Equity Bill [B60-98]
Proposed Amendments to the Employment Equity Bill
The committee went through all the amendments which the department has accepted. Most were passed unanimously although there was some dissent from the Democratic Party (DP) and National Party (NP) who were outvoted in every case.
The DP put up several amendments which were discussed, voted on, but not accepted. The NP supported the DP in all but one amendment. It was decided to postpone discussion on the introduction of a new clause in section 27 as it will be contentious and more time is needed. The schedules will only be discussed then as well.
It was agreed that the contentious section 27 on wage determination be deferred until a special meeting next week. The rest of the Bill was discussed and voted on:
The Preamble was adopted.
Section 1 - Definitions
Mr Leon objected to the definition of "designated employer" as amended as he wants the wants the number of employees to be 100 not 50.
With regard to (b) of the definition of "designated employer" , the amendment says "applicable turnover" instead of "applicable minimum annual turnover". This amendment by the Department of Labour was voted on and supported by ANC, PAC, IFP and opposed by the NP and DP. Due to the majority vote, the amendment was passed.
The insertion of "or partner" in the definition of "family responsibility" was passed
The addition of "HIV" as a definition was passed.
NP amendments "every employee must take reasonable steps" was supported by 5 NP members and opposed by the rest. The DP abstained.
Section 6(1) was passed unanimously
New subsection (2) was passed unanimously
The replacement dealing with psychological testing was agreed upon.
It was agreed that the words "other than an allegation of harassment" should be deleted.
Section 10 (3) has been deleted. Discussion on harassment and sexual harassment – there were difficulties of making accusation.
The DP's proposed amendment was voted on as they felt the provision was excessively onerous. The amendment was supported by the DP, NP and opposed by the rest and the amendment was not accepted.
In section 13(2)(d) which deals with reporting to the Director General and the Commission, the IFP proposed that the reporting should be double. This proposal was not accepted and therefore fell away.
The proposal of adding 19(3) and (4) as an amendment was suspended to be discussed with section 27.
In this section the DP wanted a new clause replacement due to the following reasons:
employees who comply with the Bill should get certain benefits: "carrot rather than stick" approach. Benefits would include exemptions, access to loans, state tenders, extension of bargaining. Majority were against this amendment as presented but the department was prepared to consider it and rephrase it.
This deals with the powers of the Labour Court and it was passed.
There was a proposed amendment by the DP and they proposed the addition of a new subsection (b). They feel that the awarding of state tenders will be affected by the bill and therefore they want to use incentives and not penalties. This was suspended.
Section 53 and 54
They were both passed
A new section was added under this section on delegation to allow for flexibility. This section was passed.
With exception of clause 27 and the Schedules, the amendments to the Bill were passed easily. The amendments put at this meeting by the DP and NP all defeated by a large margin
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